What Gurnee man built to protect his house from flooding

  • Leonardo Gavrincea built double walls of sandbags enclosing pumps to protect his Gurnee property.

    Leonardo Gavrincea built double walls of sandbags enclosing pumps to protect his Gurnee property. Courtesy of Leonardo Gavrincea

Updated 7/18/2017 5:48 AM

Rising floodwaters have forced residents like Leonardo Gavrincea to get creative in trying to protect their houses.

Gavrincea constructed a water-stopping system outside his Gurnee house that featured two walls made of hundreds of sandbags and yards upon yards of tarp, all supported by seven pumps.


Gavrincea, who lives next to the Warren-Newport Public Library, just about 1,000 feet east of the Des Plaines River, said the first wall they built fell over almost immediately, so they had to construct a second, sturdier wall beyond it.

"The funny part was we had to build it in the floodwater," Gavrincea said. "The water kept coming in from the corners, so we had to build walls along the side, too."

He said he bought and installed pumps in the section of yard between the two walls to keep the ground dry from any water that slipped past the outer wall.

Jack Linehan, the assistant to the Gurnee village administrator, said pictures of the system taken by public works employees have made the rounds in village hall and officials are considering using them as an example of how to properly fight floodwaters.

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"I don't know if the resident is an engineer or what, but it is very impressive," Linehan said.

As it turns out, the engineer is Leonardo Gavrincea's brother, George Ciprian Gavrincea, who has been beside his brother in his time of need almost every day since the flooding started.

Leonardo Gavrincea said they were aided by a group of volunteers who helped stack sandbags. Also of help were the five truckloads of sandbags the village delivered since Wednesday.

All that remains is for Gavrincea to oversee the pumping operation until floodwaters have receded, a process that could take more than a week.

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