Flood damage reduction systems inspected
Rock Island, Ill.—The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Rock Island District, has completed comprehensive safety inspections of 14 federally authorized, non-federally operated and maintained flood damage reduction systems protecting communities along more than 132 miles of the Illinois, Upper Mississippi, Des Moines and Cedar rivers.
“Public safety is the No. 1 goal of the Corps’ Levee Safety Program,” said Rock Island District Commander Colonel Shawn McGinley. “We want to ensure our flood damage reduction projects and systems are reliable and do not present unacceptable risks to the public.”
To improve public safety, reduce flood risks, and communicate to local sponsors and the public the overall condition of flood damage reduction projects, the district is completing thorough periodic inspections under its Levee Safety Program.
“Levee safety and communicating risk is a shared responsibility among federal, state, local and private partners, and is important when making public and personal safety decisions,” McGinley said.
In cooperation with levee districts and local project sponsors, the Corps is inspecting and evaluating approximately 96 federally-authorized, non-federally operated and maintained flood damage reduction projects within the Corps’ Rehabilitation and Inspection Program. The 96 projects within the Rock Island District’s 78,000-square-mile mission area total more than 640 miles.
Levee systems in the inspection program include projects owned, operated and maintained by the Corps; projects designed and built by the Corps, then turned over to a local sponsor to operate and maintain; and projects designed and built by a non-federal entity that have been accepted into the program.
The Corps conducts two types of inspections for levees within their program. The annual, routine inspection focuses on the operation and maintenance of the flood damage reduction project and verifies the sponsor operates and maintains the project to achieve its designed benefits. The five-year periodic inspection is a more rigorous and detailed assessment that includes a comprehensive and consistent evaluation of the condition of the project to verify proper operation and maintenance; evaluate operational adequacy, structural stability and safety of the system; and compare current design and construction criteria with those in place when the project was built.
Both inspections incorporate a consistent inspection checklist and result in a system rating for operation and maintenance. This rating also determines if a project is active in the Corps’ Rehabilitation and Inspection Program. Active projects (those having “Acceptable” or “Minimally Acceptable” inspection ratings) are eligible for federal rehabilitation assistance for levees damaged during a flood event.
Of the 14 systems inspected, four received unacceptable ratings and have been placed in an inactive status in the Corps’ Rehabilitation and Inspection Program and are no longer eligible for federal funding for flood damage repairs.
A flood damage reduction project must maintain an acceptable or minimally acceptable rating to remain active. If a project receives an unacceptable periodic inspection rating, it immediately becomes ineligible for federal rehabilitation assistance. The project can regain its “active” status and eligibility if deficiencies are adequately addressed. A minimally acceptable rated system must correct the identified deficiencies noted during the inspection within two years. Failure to correct deficiencies will result in an “unacceptable” rating for uncorrected deficiencies noted during the inspection.
Corps ratings are independent of the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s National Flood Insurance Program. Regardless of the inspection rating, the Corps will continue to provide flood-fighting assistance for flood damage reduction projects, as life safety is paramount.
Inspection results of acceptable, minimally acceptable or unacceptable have been provided to sponsors to address deficiencies. The district is working with sponsors to identify performance concerns, areas for further analysis, changes in design criteria and potential consequences of failures, and will conduct a re-inspection when the project sponsor corrects deficiencies.
A list of inspected systems and the executive summaries of all completed periodic inspection reports are available on the web at http://www.mvr.usace.army.mil/publicaffairsoffice/LSP1/LSPInspectionResults.htm.
For more information about the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ and Rock Island District’s Levee Safety Program, visit http://www.mvr.usace.army.mil/publicaffairsoffice/LSP1/LSPHome.htm and the national Levee Safety Program website at http://www.usace.army.mil/LeveeSafety/Pages/main.aspx.
From the June 29-July 5, 2011 issue
Print This Article