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Harrisburg council to hear levee inspection requirements

Posted on 2/8/2017, 9:35 AM

HARRISBURG – City council will hear what procedures it must take in order to meet Army Corps of Engineer guidelines to certify the safety Harrisburg's levee at tonight's meeting.

Jim Brown, city engineer, said periodically, the city's levee must be recertified as being properly maintained and the Army Corps is the reviewing agency.

The functionality of various drains throughout the levee are critical to the levee being recertified, Brown said. The process is not an easy one, he said.

Penetration drains are located throughout the levee and are used if the water outside the levee is low. Regardless of size, the Army Corps requires an inspection of all the drains.

"The Corps wants those inspected by manually crawling through them or using a TV if they're too small," Brown said.

He said in addition to the condition of the penetration drains, the conditions of the levee's toe drains also must be included in the report.

The work to be done goes beyond the capability of city to do the work in-house, Brown said.

"We're going to have to hire a firm to get a camera through those pipes and video according to Corps specifications," he said. "And, we're going to have to be doing it pretty fast."

This year marks the 80th anniversary of the Flood of 1937 that covered much of Harrisburg, Muddy, Shawneetown, Ridgway, Equality and other communities. Harrisburg's last significant flood was 2011, Brown said. The city has continued to work to reduce the chances of flooding. Brown said the city has to remain vigilant about flood control.

"We've done a great deal of improvements, but at the same time, we've put down a good deal of concrete," he said.

The use of concrete causes additional runoff during large rains because there is less soil to soak up water.

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