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WATCH: Lowering Waters Reveal 3 Vehicles in Des Moines River

By Nick Davis, September 11, 2017

Officials with the Ottumwa Water Works were busy Sunday and Monday lowering the Des Moines River upstream of the Hydro-electric dam in Ottumwa.

Crews are planning to make repairs to one of the gates on the dam. The repairs forced crews to lower the Des Moines River to little more than a stream.

The slow draw down of the river began Sunday morning. By lunchtime the river was already several feet lower than normal. By Monday morning the river was more than 10 feet below normal.

As is often the case when the river is lowered, police were seen Monday morning examining items that were previously submerged in the murky waters. At least three vehicles have been uncovered by the lowering waters.

Two vehicles were located within Ottumwa City Limits while a third was reported near Eldon.

The two vehicles in Ottumwa were both located near Turkey Island. One vehicle was located just up-stream of the boat ramp near the city garage on the north side of Ottumwa, while a second was spotted downstream of the Canadian Pacific Railroad Bridge near Blackhawk road.

Wapello County Sheriff Chief Deputy Don Phillips says that authorities were already aware of a submerged car along River Drive near Eldon. Phillips says authorities do not have any plans to remove the car at this time.

The car located near Blackhawk Road was found approximately 250 yards downstream of the boat ramp. Authorities investigating the car commented that they are unsure how the car could be removed if the decision is made to take the vehicle out of the river.

Some residents including campers along the river have voiced concerns that property owners weren’t notified ahead of time. Failing banks have caused several docks to fall into the river in a private campground located along the river.

Ottumwa Water and Hydro director Mike Heffernan says the river will be lowered for between 7 and 12 days for the repairs.

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