Contractors working for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Pittsburgh District install a 23-foot-tall concrete shaft enclosure weighing approximately 120,000 pounds as part of the guard wall at the Monongahela River Locks and Dam 4 in Charleroi, Pennsylvania, Nov. 16, 2023.

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Louisville District Levee Safety and Emergency Management bring flood fight to municipalities

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Louisville District
Published May 29, 2024
George Minges, Louisville District Emergency Operations chief, demonstrates the placements and correct use of barriers during flood fight training, May 29, 2024, in Covington, Ky.

George Minges, Louisville District Emergency Operations chief, demonstrates the placements and correct use of barriers during flood fight training, May 29, 2024, in Covington, Ky.

As part of the Water Resources Development Act of 2007, Congress enacted Title IX, entitled the National Levee Safety Program, which provides authorities for various activities led by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

 

As part of this program, USACE was authorized to create and maintain the National Levee Database. For the Louisville District, the levee system inventory includes 58 Federally authorized and constructed levee systems and one non-federally constructed levee system, which play a critical role in managing flood risk for the cities along the Ohio River.
“Training with our emergency management and partnering with levee sponsors is vital to minimizing damage and saving lives during a flood,” said Neil Cash, Louisville District Levee Safety Program manager. “This level of cooperation is the mission of the USACE Levee Safety Program.”

For many municipalities along the river, the flood of 1937 would not only become a historical event but would eventually become a standard for which levee walls are created.
One of these cities, Covington, Kentucky, would use the reading of 80 feet on the river gauge as a standard for the city’s levee and flood wall system, which can accommodate 83 feet of rise from the Ohio River.

A key part of the district’s Levee Safety Program includes levee inspections, risk assessments and sharing levee information for those specific levees. Cash and George Minges, Louisville District Emergency Management chief, want to enhance the sharing of information by teaching municipalities how to flood fight and provide information and procedures about USACE flood fight response capabilities.

This type of training, which included manual and automated sandbag filling techniques and constructing sandbag boil rings and levees, was provided to Covington Public works staff, May 29, 2024, by Louisville District Emergency Management personnel.

“The Army Corps has been great to work with,” said Bill Matteoli, City of Covington assistant public works director. “The Army Corps has the knowledge from back in the 40s and 50s on how and why the levee was built. That knowledge hasn’t always been passed down at the local level as personnel change.”

Members of the Louisville District Emergency Management office and Levee Safety Program office provide flood fight training for approximately three municipalities each year.

“Being prepared is the cornerstone of any disaster response,” said Minges. “Flood fight training provides an opportunity for municipalities to gain confidence and build capability at the local level prior to the onset of a flood event.”


Chick Lock

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