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Boneyard Basin does its duty

CHAMPAIGN -- The city was inundated with water over the weekend.
CHAMPAIGN -- The city was inundated with water over the weekend. Champaign had up to six inches of rain within three hours. All of it had to go somewhere. WCIA-3's Anna Carrera finds out the Boneyard Creek was made for situations just like this.

Water levels have gone down to normal, but over the weekend, you couldn't even see the arch since all the rain came rose above it. City engineers say everything worked just like it should.

Even if you slept through Saturday's storms, you probably saw the effects.

"I went and checked the window and the creek outside my apartment is just absolutely flooded," said Wyndham Lu, who lives along the Boneyard Creek. 

Like him, many people live along Boneyard Creek. It's meant to flood and give the water somewhere to go.

"It was the fullest we've seen it since construction," said Eleanor Blackmon, who is the assistant city engineer. "It worked very well. It did what it was supposed to do. It held the water during and immediately after the storm. Held it for about a day and released it slowly after the stream had gone down."

From the Second Street Basin, water flows south and even underground in some places.

"No matter how much we spend on it, how big we make the facility, you'll always have a bigger storm at some point," said Blackmon. "But twenty years ago, this big of a storm would have had campus underwater."

City leaders say campus is prime real estate and you can be no one living around here wants that water in their basements.

"I'm assuming all the water in there would be out if it wasn't there, so I'm guessing it's helping to some degree," said Lu. 

Now that the water's gone down, there is some debris left behind. City workers spent some time cleaning up afterwards.

"It doesn't look like we had five inches of rain two days ago," said Blackmon. 

Just a few hours later, when it rained some more, the sidewalk disappeared again, but that's all just part of the process; keeping water inside instead of overflowing somewhere else.

"It can get a little fuller, so we can have a bigger rain and still hold it," said Blackmon. 

The $50 million Boneyard Project is now in its second phase. Even though some streets flooded this weekend, many are just glad it wasn't that much worse.
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