Expert: Linda levee safe
A U.S. Army Corps of Engineers official says he is not worried about the Yuba River levee repair near the Linda Wal-Mart Supercenter despite a Linda resident's insistence that the levee was not fixed right.
“We have confidence in that seepage berm that was constructed,” said John Hess, chief of the geotechnical and environmental engineering branch for the Sacramento District. “We have no concerns about it whatsoever.”
Hess' statements came after Linda resident Rex Archer on Friday questioned recent levee repairs before the state Reclamation Board.
Archer asked that the board take another look at development in Plumas Lake. Among his evidence was a letter he received from District Engineer Ronald Light.
But Hess said the Army Corps will send a new letter to Archer which clarifies the Corps' position. He said the letter's wording has had “unintended reactions.”
One of them may have been a Reclamation Board member's call Friday for development to stop in Plumas Lake - a deep flood area where home construction is funding levee repairs. The board took no action, but one Reclamation Board member said there needs to be follow-up.
At issue are recent levee repairs at the site of a disastrous levee break in 1986 which caused flooding in Yuba County. Tons of boulders were poured into the breach, filling a “scour hole” caused by water rushing from the levee, but forming what could be a leaky base for the levee.
While a massive seepage berm has been built on the land side to help water flow through the levee without damaging it, there has been no recent work done on the water side and no slurry wall.
Hess said that the boulders prevent construction of a slurry wall, an internal levee structure which would block water from flowing through the embankment.
After talking with engineers and reviewing the work, Hess told the Three Rivers Levee Improvement Authority on Tuesday that he was confident with the work done on the site of a 1986 levee break that flooded Yuba County.
Hess said afterwards that the Army Corps will review that section and other issues as part of levee certification.
Archer said Wednesday that he's standing by his statements and the letter from Light.
“That levee is unsafe,” said Archer, a former president of Reclamation District 784.
According to Archer, the letter buttresses his concerns - particularly a sentence that says “We share your concerns about the effectiveness and viability of the levee improvements made by TRLIA.”
Others had a different take on the letter. TRLIA Executive Director Paul Brunner pointed to one sentence that says the most cost effective and viable solution was the construction of a semi-pervious seepage berm.
Appeal-Democrat reporter John Dickey can be reached at 749-4711. You may e-mail him at email@example.com.