McBaine Gets Permission to Reconstruct Levee

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McBAINE - The Army Corps of Engineers gave the the McBaine Levee District permission to set back its secondary levee Friday. Workers will begin construction to reposition the 31-foot levee early Saturday morning.

The new portion of the levee is going to be built where a 25-30 foot stretch of the current levee has eroded. Trees have been swept away by the Missouri River, making this one stretch particularly vulnerable to flooding.

McBaine Levee District President John Williamson said the project will cost about $10,000. The levee protects about 130 acres of farmland as well as three wells at the Columbia Water and Treatment Center. Williamson said these three wells are the newest and strongest and supply Columbia with about 25 percent of the city's water supply. If the levee were to breach, these wells, as well as the farmland, would be in jeopardy.

John Campbell, Operations Branch Chief at SEMA, said the Army Corps opened the floodgates to Gavens Point Dam in South Dakota late last month. However, just a few days ago, it doubled the water flow to 140,000 cubic feet per second.

The Corps estimates it will take about five to seven days for the water to reach McBaine which means the main pulse of water from the 140,000 cubic feet per second flow would reach Mid-Missouri next week.  However, this is all subject to change and dependent on the weather.

Campbell said if there is normal or a more than normal amount of rain fall, this might cause significant or even perhaps devastating flooding.

Williamson said he doesn't expect this year's flood to as bad as the flood of 1993. However, he said the levee construction will be important in the future, and is a cautious step for right now.