Corps: Slow fall of floodwaters good news, bad news

WEST MISSISSIPPI — The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reports water levels for the Mississippi River at Vicksburg are expected to fall slowly following the river’s May 19 crest at 57.1 feet.

Though the slower fall is not ideal for property owners who have been affected by 2011′s record flood, a less rapid decline is easier on the currently saturated levees, where a quick fall increases the risk of slides.

“If you’re a farmer or a landowner waiting for the water to go down, this isn’t very good news,” said the Corps’ Vicksburg District deputy commander Lt. Col. Greg

Raimondo. “But, for the levees, this is a very good thing. A slow drop helps equalize pressure inside and outside the levees, and will help keep the levees intact.”

The Corps has detected two slides along the mainline Mississippi River levee near Lake Albemarle, but the Corps says they are not impacting the overall integrity of levee.  The levee system is stable and performing as expected, it reports.

The slides, located directly next to each other approximately 25 miles north of Vicksburg, are classified as “shallow” and are on the land side of the levee. Between 300 and 400 feet of levee are involved. Caused by the under seepage of water and saturation of the levee, the slides are simply a failure of the levee surface, not the levee itself.

Ongoing repair efforts include the placement of a rock dike at the bottom of the levee, followed by backfilling with sand, which will provide weight and stability while allowing water to seep out. Approximately 7,000 tons of rock and 11,000 tons of sand will be used.

Repairs are expected to be completed tomorrow.

Source: Corps of Engineers

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