An Aqua Dam keeps two Louisiana homes dry and safe during flooding of the Red River during June 2015. – courtesy of Aqua Dam Inc.
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The old saying goes, “fight fire with fire,” but who’s ever heard of fighting water with water?

But that’s just what Aqua Dam, a Scotia-based manufacturer that is celebrating its 30-year anniversary this year, is doing with long bags filled with water to keep flood waters at bay.

Aqua Dam CEO Nick Angeloff said there won’t be any fanfare for the milestone year, just continued efforts toward growth. The company already has sales and distributions locations in London and on the Gulf Coast but seeks to keep expanding.

That effort was helped in June when a story went viral online about a Texas man that found the product online, bought it and saved his home during floods.

“After it went viral, everyone gave us a call,” Angeloff said.

He said he wasn’t surprised because there’s a good reason it went viral.

“With flooding, we’re at least three times more cost effective than sandbags… and we’re probably 10 times faster (to set up) than sandbags with a tenth of the people,” Angeloff said.

The dams have with two tubes, which are filled with water once laid where the dam is needed, encased in geotextile wrapping with a baffle in the middle for stability. They can be filled with a garden hose, from a hydrant or using a water pump to fill it with incoming floodwater. The dams can be emptied after water recedes and stored for future use.

The Aqua Dams are also easier to handle and strategically arrange, Angeloff said.

“The weight of the water holds it in place and you can manipulate them in any direction you want to,” Angeloff said.

In an area of Humboldt County that’s trying to attract more businesses, Rio Dell-Scotia Chamber of Commerce board member Tracy O’Connell said she’d like to see similar businesses bring jobs to the communities.

“They are a wonderful company with an incredibly vast global market,” she said.

Aqua Dams have been made in Scotia and shipped across the United States, the Middle East and South Africa.

“Congrats on the successful application recently in Texas. You all need to get on the phone with people near St. Louis along I-55!” Olathe, Kansas, resident Brian Herr posted on the Aqua Dam Inc Facebook page after the Texas flood story went viral.

The same dams that save homes from floods can be used to help in the opposite situation, droughts.

“It’s a unique company. It seems to have ways to solve issues that are increasingly important in our time like drought and floods,” O’Connell said.

The materials used in the dams are inert, or food grade, Angeloff said.

“Potable water in, potable water out,” he said.

Using a rain catchment system, Angeloff said he’d like to see the dams used to store water in fallow fields in San Joaquin Valley for the dry season.

The company recently got recognition from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

“FEMA have now accepted our product as an interim flood prevention measure,” Angeloff said.

But he wants to see that changed to a permanent flood prevention measure because of the durable and reusable nature of the dams.

“We’re thinking how to resolve fisheries issues, drought issues, flood issues and it goes on and on and on,” Angeloff said.

Hunter Cresswell can be reached at 707-441-0506.

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