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City seeks Corps help to move levee

The Board of Mayor and Aldermen is seeking the help of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Vicksburg District to relocate the levee surrounding the Vicksburg Forest Products plant.

Mayor George Flaggs Jr. said the city wants to move the levee, which is on the north side of Haining Road, to protect a section of the city’s main waterline west of the levee. The line connects to the city’s water treatment plant.

The waterline lies underground in a low area off Haining Road. It is presently under floodwater, which was the situation when a valve on the line broke during the 2017 flood.

The board April 10 approved entering into an agreement with the District to provide technical assistance with a study to determine the feasibility and the process of relocating the levee. Under the agreement, the city would provide one-half, or $37,500, of the study’s estimated $75,000 cost.

District spokesperson Reagan Lauritzen said the agreement has not been finalized, adding district officials are working toward an agreement with the city for technical assistance through the Planning Assistance to States program.

“Technical assistance provided through the PAS program includes support of planning efforts related to the management of state water resources, as well as analysis in support of state water resources management and related land resources development plans,” she said.

She said current discussions between the city and the District indicate the PAS study will focus on a hydraulic assessment to investigate the potential relocation of the levee.

The levee was originally built to protect the former Anderson-Tully mill.

During the May 2017 flood, a valve on the section of the main waterline west of the levy broke, forcing the board to declare an emergency and hire a contractor to build a dike around the submerged waterline so the valve could be replaced.

The problem also forced city officials to close the water treatment plant’s main valve to prevent backflow and issue a boil water notice that ran for three days.

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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