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In danger of failure’


Water leaking through levee at 40 gallons per minute

By MEGAN DOYLE, Herald and News 6/2/08

H&N photo by Andrew Mariman
Marshall Alexander, vice-president of Lakeshore Garden Drainage District, Ken Thompson of the Army Corps of Engineers, and Bill Cox also with the Lakeshore Garden Drainage District, assess the largest seepage area along a levee that protects a number of homes along Lakeshore Drive Monday.

Barry Norris was asked to rate the risk of a levee breach near Moore Park Marina No. 2. The Oregon Water Resources Department engineer said seven or eight (with a 10 being a definite breach).

Two leaks were identified last week in the 81-year-old levee between Upper Klamath Lake and a drainage ditch, and two additional spring-like leaks were discovered over the weekend.

Currently, the leaks are moving about 40 gallons of water per minute from Upper Klamath Lake into a ditch on the other side of the levee, owned and maintained by the Lakeshore Gardens Irrigation District.

“I think it’s in danger of failure,” Norris said.

The Water Resources Department recommended constructing an eight-foot wide and 180-foot long stabilization berm and drainage blanket to mitigate the leaks.

W and H Pacific and Valley Pump had equipment staged at the marina in case of a failure over the weekend.

Discussing action

Local officials, homeowners, engineers, a representative from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Norris inspected the levee on Monday and discussed what action to take.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers representative Ken Thompson said he wouldn’t be able to sleep at night if he lived near the levee for fear it would fail and flood his home.

There are a dozen structures at risk, impacting 10 families. Many homeowners attended the Monday meeting.

“We’ll get this problem solved,” said homeowner Bill Cox.

Thompson suggested sandbag dikes be built around the areas where the leaks are to prevent further erosion as a quick and temporary solution.

Permanent solution

A more permanent solution would be to build a berm, Norris said. He suggested the vegetation on the levee be stripped, laying down sand, a filter fabric and drainage rocks. The most expensive material is the rocks, which could be more than $4 per yard, contractors estimated.

“I recommend it’s done where you’ve got those leaks now,” Norris said.

Because it could be expensive, he further recommended that additional sections of the nearly mile-long levee be done each year.

County funds

The Klamath County Commissioners approved using $20,000 from the risk management fund to help with the leaks.

As of Friday evening, it was undetermined how additional money would be raised for the project. The drainage district is a taxing district with 67 members, but has only about $2,000.

Klamath County Emergency Services manager Bill Thompson will soon receive bids for the project, which is exempt from the county’s official bid process because of the immediate need for repairs

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