Water & Drought

Emergency work starts on levee downstream from Oroville Dam

Boulders trucked and flown to Oroville spillway

Large bags of rocks were taken by truck and flown by helicopter to the eroded site on the emergency spillway on Oroville Dam on Monday, Feb. 13, 2017.
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Large bags of rocks were taken by truck and flown by helicopter to the eroded site on the emergency spillway on Oroville Dam on Monday, Feb. 13, 2017.

Emergency work on a levee at the confluence of the Feather and Sacramento rivers started Monday, with officials hoping to prevent damage.

Last week, at about the same time the state announced problems with the spillway at the dam, Reclamation District 1001 became aware of boils in the levee near the small community of Verona, about 10 miles north of Sacramento International Airport, said Joe Henderson, the district’s general manager.

Since then, the Rio Oso-based district has consulted with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the state Department of Water Resources on how to best fix the levee, he said. Teichert Construction started work around 1 p.m. Monday and expects to finish the work in four to five days.

Potential flooding from Oroville Dam has forced the evacuation of thousands of people, and the problems could mount as storms return Wednesday night. Asked if he was concerned whether Teichert could finish the project before the coming storm, Henderson said he wasn’t sure, but the levee will be in better condition than it was before.

According to the American River Flood Control District website, a levee boil is water seeping under the levee that eventually pushes its way to the top, creating a small geyser. The effect weakens the structural integrity of the levee.

Henderson said there were three boils in the levee. Teichert is building a berm on the land side of the levee to help stabilize it.

Verona and its marina are near the levee, but it is otherwise an agricultural area.

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