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Neighbors Often Help Defend Homes From Flooding, But Not Like This

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(credit: CBS) Reg Chapman
Reg Chapman joined WCCO-TV in May of 2009. He came to WCCO fr...
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — When water began creeping close to cabin homes along Green Lake in Isanti County, owners jumped into action.

They went to the internet to buy sandbags, but instead they learned a local company, right down the street, had an invention designed to save their homes.

The company, Progressive Innovations, used its Instee Levee Builder to keep the water back.

From the deck on Gene and Linda Case’s cabin, it was hard to tell Monday where Green Lake ended and their yard began.

“Fish right off the dock, and there is all kinds of fish,” said Linda Case.

And they’re not alone.  The Cases and their neighbors haven’t seen water this high in almost 20 years.

“From my deck out, the water was probably 10 feet on Friday,” said cabin owner Nancy Newstrom.

When looking to protect their homes, one neighbor happened to find Progressive Innovations. The company’s owner lives right down t the street, and they have a machine that instantly creates a levee.

“This fast-built levee is being created at 400 feet per hour,” said Kyle Sweningson.

His father, Roger, designed the Instee Levee Builder for situations just like this. The sausage of sandbags the machine creates saves time and manpower needed to fill sandbags.

“It’s produced at a third of the cost of sandbags,” Kyle Sweningson said.

The sand-filled, water-tight tubes are built and deployed in place where they are needed. For an 18-inch high flood barrier, the tubes can be stacked for more protection.

“This is impressive, really impressive,” Case said.

Monday was a first for the Sweningsons and crew. Progressive Innovations usually sells or rents the equipment it creates.

“If we didn’t have them, I don’t know what we would have done,” Gene Case said.

Clean up for these families will now be easier.

Once the water recedes, the tube will be cut, the sand reclaimed and the plastic poly recycled.

With the new levee in place, residents believe their cabins will be safe, with a little help from sump pumps.

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