Crews Monitor Conditions of Levee Around Big Sioux River

SIOUX FALLS, S.D.- Four years ago a project to raise the levees in Sioux Falls was finished. The current high levels in the Big Sioux River may test those levels. So crews with the city of Sioux Falls are monitoring the flood control system carefully. It involves a levee or wall made of clay that wraps around the river to help prevent the overflow of water.

“You see what happens to our parks on the south side of town when the river comes up. Before the flood control system was installed, all of this water would be wrapping around the city like that,” said Andy Berg, Sioux Falls Environmental and Storm Water Manager

Emergency officials want to make sure everything is holding, so they are patrolling the levees 24 hours a day. They will look for water seeping through.

“They’re not necessarily signs of failure as much as signs of something where we need to be watching it. We may need to put some sand over it to stabilize it,” said Berg.

The inspection of the levees is mostly visual.

“A lot of times it’s just the ground looks wet and then you can take a probe or even your fingers or a shovel and if you can stick them into that soil that means it’s saturated and the waters trying to seep through there,” said Berg.

Crews are also tracking the water levels throughout the day. A measuring tape is lowered until it hits the top of the water, then crews will check back every six hours to measure again to determine if the water has gone up or down. They’ll compare that to what the United State Geological Survey is reading around town. So far there’ve been no problems.

“So far our levee system has functioned excellently. We have not had any indications of any seepage. Water levels thankfully have reduced from what they were predicted earlier,” said Berg.

Crews will continue to monitor all of this until water levels recede.

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