Sacramento levees fail federal maintenance rules

11:10 PM, Aug 23, 2012   |    comments
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SACRAMENTO, CA (AP) - A levee system protecting the Sacramento and 15 other Central Valley cities from floods does not meet federal maintenance requirements, threatening eligibility for federal rebuilding dollars if the system should fail.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said Thursday it determined the state's levee improvement plan does not provide enough detail to ensure maintenance problems get fixed, the Sacramento Bee reported.

"Though these levee systems are currently ineligible for rehabilitation assistance, we are still here to help," Corps' Sacramento District Col. Bill Leady said. "We'll continue working with the state of California and local agencies toward long-term, sustainable improvements to levee systems in the Central Valley, and we will always be here to help in a flood. We have several ongoing and future levee construction projects, and this change in eligibility for rehabilitation assistance does not affect those projects."

The levees affected include 40 miles on the American and Sacramento rivers surrounding the city of Sacramento.

One problem highlighted by the Corps was homes built too close to the levees, leaving less than the 15-foot-wide maintenance corridor required.

If the area were to lose its Federal Emergency Management Agency 100-year-flood certification because of these problems, Sacramento homeowners could be required to by costly flood insurance.

The Associated Press

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