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Less flood damage, lower insurance costs: how Fond du Lac is combatting flooding along the river

Posted at 5:53 PM, Feb 06, 2024

FOND DU LAC (NBC 26) — Fond du Lac's work to decrease flood damage allows for flood insurance discounts.

  • During Flood Insurance Awareness Week, Wisconsin's insurance commissioner visits to raise awareness for insurance benefits.
  • Fond du Lac is building a new pump on Lincoln Avenue.
  • Neighbors who live along the river say flooding is a serious issue.

What is now a plot of dirt on Lincoln Avenue in Fond du Lac was once someone’s home. It was destroyed in a 2019 flood; and now, the city is building a pump station there to save other homes in the neighborhood.

Bonnie LesPerance has rented a home in that neighborhood for eight years. She said she’ll always remember that 2019 flood.

“The water went up to the top step [of my home],” LesPerance said. “So when the fire department came with their little canoe, they stepped in the water and got up to me and then pushed us three to four blocks.”

Wisconsin Insurance Commissioner Nathan Houdek visited the neighborhood Tuesday for Flood Insurance Awareness Week. He hopes to prepare the community for future floods.

“We know that even one inch of water can cause up to $25,000 of damage to a home or a business,” Houdek said.

He said most homeowners insurance doesn't cover flooding, so it's best to get separate flood insurance coverage. And because of projects like this pump, people in Fond du Lac can expect their insurance to be cheaper.

“Residents in Fond du Lac can actually get a discount on their flood insurance because of investments that the community is making,” Houdek said.

Houdek said that discount can be up to 40 percent.

City Public Works Director Paul DeVries said this project will cost 10 million dollars as part of the city’s Capital Improvement Plan.

There are currently 22 pump stations in the city, and this one will replace two of them.

“They basically take storm water from great distance away, bring it down below grade and then we pump it into the rivers,” DeVries said.

DeVries said it will be twice as effective as those two combined.

LesPerance said she hopes it will make a difference during the next major rainfall.

“I would not like to live through another flood,” she said.

The project is set to be finished in spring 2025.