By ERIC X. VICCARO
Ste. Genevieve Levee District No. 3 met on April 13 to discuss a future crown widening project.
Levee superintendent Norm Gallup said the crown widening project is necessary because there’s currently not enough room to “set up a crane properly.”
Gallup said cranes need to shore themselves on the inside bank, which isn’t ideal.
Cranes are used the levee to help perform routine maintenance and repair, Gallup added.
Gallup recently spoke to Brenton Barkley with the United State Corps of Engineers on both crown widening and the sign permits. Barkley told Gallup said he was waiting final approval from a top-level member of the Corps before proceeding.
As soon as the levee district receives a permit to do so, it will put out the crown widening project for bid.
Ste. Genevieve city administrator Happy Welch noted there is $6,500 available for the levee district to spend on constructing a parking lot and signage.
The city has not received the “go ahead” from the corps to start any sort of construction.
Welch reported there will be enough parking by the levee for six vehicles. The city will smooth out rock for the lot and help with concrete post bases for the signs.
The signs already have been made, and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service has agreed to help the city with the project.
Gallup added he would like to have community service workers help with picking up rocks on the inside of the toe berm of the levee – a byproduct of culvert pipe construction on Division Street.
LEVEE HANDLES RAIN
There also was discussion on how recent rains have affected the levee, which handled all the precipitation with aplomb.
Gallup said changes were made to the pumps, stemming from the 2019 flood, which has helped lessen the impacts from heavy rain.
The Mississippi River at Chester, Illinois – the closest reporting station – was at 19 feet even on Friday, April 23. That’s eight feet below flood stage.
One week earlier, the Mississippi river was at 29.07 feet. The river has crested twice above 30 feet during the past month.
The National Weather Service office in St. Louis issued a flood warning for the Mississippi River; however, there were very few areas of standing water in Ste. Genevieve during these rainy periods.
Even Saturday’s rain did not impact the levee. The updated crest was only for 21.1 feet this Tuesday.
CHARGE FOR SOFT START LEADS TO DISCUSSION
There was a discussion on demand charges from Citizens Electric Cooperative for starting up the pumps.
Levee board member Phil Loida wondered if the levee district should look into a possible rebate program through Citizens.
Board members recalled when the
levee district wasn’t charged for the first 15 minutes of pump testing.
Gallup said he will call Citizens to see if there would be any cost savings on if “soft starts” were added to the motors.
However, Gallup said relief wells remain a much bigger priority than soft starts, in which one can run $60,000. Relief wells would help in times when a levee leaks.
Surge protectors also are needed on the soft starts, especially with how common lightning strikes are around here during spring, summer and autumn months. In fact, the levee recently suffered a lightning strike. The board already has filed a claim with Lakenan Insurance on the matter.
BT Electric already has assisted Gallup on acquiring surge protectors for soft starts – as well as an extra relay control switch.