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Facility Profile - April 2003

Handling High Water with Dock Technology

Galena Territory Marina
Galena, Ill.


PHOTOS COURTESY OF EZ DOCK
The Galena Territory Marina after the first of two
500-year torrential rainfalls in 2002

When a rainstorm is capable of dumping more than eight inches of rain in one area in less than 24 hours, it's considered so rare that it only occurs once every 500 years. In the summer of 2002, Galena, Ill., experienced two such rainstorms in the course of three months.

On June 3, 8.5 inches of rainwater fell in Galena within a 24-hour period. This downpour flooded the area and completely destroyed the Galena Territory Marina, which had been in place since 1975. Then, on August 21, when the dock was in the process of being replaced, another storm produced 11.5 inches of rain. However, the second flood caused only minimal damage. The difference was a unique technology employed in the new dock. Manufactured by EZ Dock, Inc., the replacement dock utilized innovative, modular, rotomolded polyethylene sections with an advanced anchoring system, allowing the dock to adjust to extreme variations in water levels without significant damage.

The Galena Territory dock rests in a low-lying area on a man-made lake. When the June downpour began, heavy runoff from the surrounding landscape caused water levels to rise dramatically. Unknown to lake area residents, the original marina was anchored only a few feet into the lake bottom; the quick increase in water levels forced the dock from its foundation and caused most of the dock's boats to either sink or float helplessly with the current. When the rains began, there were 330 boats docked at the Galena Territory Marina; by the end, only 26 remained. Once the rain subsided, the Galena Territory Property Owners Association began looking for a completely new dock to replace the old one. Though the marina had been renovated many times over the past 27 years, the need for a completely new dock was obvious, and the importance of a durable dock was vital. After a considerable amount of research, the Association contacted EZ Dock of Monett, Mo.

According to Dave Oldenburg of the Galena Territory Association, they were looking for a dock that would be maintenance free and also very durable.

They looked at various aluminum and plastic docking systems, but the polyethylene construction of EZ Dock products proved to be the best option to meet their requirements. Plus, there was the added benefit of how low the docks sit in the water. The old wood dock sat approximately 20 inches high, while an EZ Dock rests securely at 13.5 inches above the water. Many patrons of the Galena Territory Marina have pontoon-style boats, and the lower position of the new dock system allows easier access to such watercraft.

PHOTOS COURTESY OF EZ DOCK
The marina's new dock system, which withstood
the second 500-year rainfall later in the summer

When construction began on July 23, planners had made sure that the mistakes of the previous dock would not be repeated.

"The original dock used hand-driven pilings that only went a couple of feet into the soil," says EZ Dock representative Ed Moe. "We used a pneumatic hammer to drive gatorshield pipes six to ten feet deep."

With anchoring secure, installation progressed, and the people of Galena Territory watched their new marina evolve. However, on August 21, when the dock was nearly finished, the second severe storm hit, dumping nearly a foot of rain on the Galena area.

As fears mounted, the rain subsided, and the damage report came in: almost none. One dock of 13 had come loose—likely due to recent dredging in the cove that had lessened the depth of one post, which was quickly and easily fixed. Two days later, exactly one month after the project began, the installation was complete, and Galena Territory members could enjoy their extensive new dock system. The quick turnaround has allowed patrons to enjoy the end of the lake season, and according to Dave Oldenburg,

"Everyone with a boat slip has expressed how much they like it," Oldenburg says.

For more information
EZ Dock: 800-654-8168
or visit www.ez-dock.com