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Kristen Daum and J. Shane Mercer, Forum staff writers, Published March 19 2010

Fighting the rising Red with the Red

For the second year in a row, Jason Tesch is fighting the Red River with the Red River.

Tesch and a handful of others in the Forest River development south of Fargo are using the AquaDam again this year to protect against flooding.

The AquaDam is a flood-control device made of heavy, woven plastic with two plastic tubes inside that are filled with water.

It took five hours to fill Tesch’s device, using a pump that drew about 100,000 gallons of water from the nearby Red.

“It takes the water pressure off of Fargo,” he joked of the giant device that surrounds his home.

“It’s fast, easy, no mess. It seals better than sandbags,” he said.

The cost of the AquaDam can vary depending on the size and scope, according to California-based Water Structures Unlimited, which manufactures the device.

Fargo officials are using a 100-foot piece of AquaDam that was donated to help in the city’s flood-fighting efforts this year.

Early Thursday, Tesch was constructing two sets of wooden steps so his three children can walk up and over the giant 4-foot-high tube.

“You can crawl over it, but this is a lot less hassle,” he said.

On Moorhead’s South River Drive, Mike Skogen has his own AquaDam stretched behind his home.

Skogen, 46, was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis several years ago.

“I can’t do all that physical stuff,” he said. The AquaDam is a way to work around that problem.

Neighbors, city employees and his dad helped set up the barrier.

“Oh, I think it’s more than just a little ironic” to use water to hold back water, Skogen said.

His 150 feet of AquaDam cost him more than $2,700, tax, delivery and everything, he said.

Moorhead Fire Chief Joel Hewitt was among the numerous Fire Department personnel on hand.

“If it works,” Hewitt said, “it would save a ton of labor.”

After firefighters filled

the first part of the dam from a hydrant, it appeared to be working properly.

Skogen said, “I think my research has panned out.”


Readers can reach Forum reporter Kristen Daum at (701) 241-5541 and Shane Mercer at (701) 451-5734