Fifth District Levee Board Superintendent Jason Trichell said this week that routine work of installing relief wells and monitoring sand boils is presently underway, work that is usually associated with a higher river stage.
The Mississippi River, standing at 51.2 feet at Vidalia on Tuesday, is expected to rise another foot in the days ahead.
Flood stage is 48 feet.
“We’ve got some relief flowing and sand boils popping up in the same places,” Trichell said. “Seepage is picking up a little bit. So we’re just sitting on go and watching and waiting.”
Trichell said that in lower Concordia Parish, 76 relief wells are being installed from Union Point upstream for a few miles in a project already underway.
He said most of the relief wells will be placed along existing bar pits.
Relief wells relieve water pressure and help prevent sand boils.
Trichell said levee raising work is set in Tensas Parish – about 12 miles total – from south of St. Joseph to Waterproof.
He said berm work was completed a few years ago and that now the levee is to be raised two to three feet.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Vicksburg District activated its Emergency Operations Center to “emergency watch” status March 24 due to current and forecasted high water on the Mississippi River and its tributaries.
According to a press relief from USACE, during emergency watch, USACE personnel and their local partners monitor the conditions of all federal flood control works, including levees, flood walls and pump stations. They also monitor rainfall amounts in affected areas and use National Weather Service data to determine if weather conditions warrant further action.
“In light of current and projected high-water stages throughout the region, we’re taking precautions and activating our Emergency Operations Center,” said USACE Vicksburg District Commander Col. Robert Hilliard. “The district has begun and will continue to work with our local, state and federal partners to manage flood risk.”
As of last week, the district said it has observed no significant sand boils or seepage at flood control sites.
The Vicksburg District encompasses a 68,000-square-mile area across portions of Mississippi, Arkansas and Louisiana that holds seven major river basins and incorporates approximately 460 miles of mainline Mississippi River levees. The Vicksburg District is engaged in hundreds of projects and employs approximately 1,100 personnel.