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Improvements to the flood control levees noted in report
new deh flood control levee pic
There have been many improvements to the flood control levees around Great Bend. These were noted in the latest inspection from the United States Army Corps of Engineers. - photo by DALE HOGG Great Bend Tribune

If one goes back two or three years, they would find the condition of the flood control levees around Great Bend had deteriorated, a fact driven home in less-than-flattering reports from the United States Army Corps of Engineers in the past.
However, that has changed. This was noted in the results of the latest Corps’ inspection of the city-maintained levees.
“A lot of money and time have gone into them,” City Administrator Howard Partington told the City Council Monday night. This effort has been worth it.
“The report was very good,” Partington said. The city received an acceptable rating on the Great Bend Levee Walnut northwest section and minimally acceptable on all the rest and there were no major defects.
The words “acceptable” and “minimal” can be deceiving, Partington said, responding to skeptical council members. The Corps’ rating system is very stringent and to achieve this ranking meant the Corps was pleased with what it saw.
“This is just an example of what the Street Section has done in the past two years on flood control maintenance,” Partington said. “We continue to work to improve the flood control levee.”
Below is a rundown of some of the improvements that have taken place:
• Replaced 715 feet of field fence with pipe fence.
• Repaired over 1,591 feet of field fence.
• Installed over 9,400 feet of cable fence. The cable fence is on the river side of the levee to keep all-terrain vehicles off the levee.
• Replaced 10 damaged gates with new heavy duty pipe gates.
• Installed over 49 bollards to keep ATVs off the levee and protect pedestrians on the walk path.
• Installed new signage on the levee.
• Hauled dirt to the top of the levee where rutting has occurred and reseeded.
• Greased all flap gates and screw gates and checked for proper operation and removed any obstructions that were found. They are in the process of replacing the bearings in all the screw gates.
• Locating and cleaning toe drains and replacing missing protective bollards.
• Checked for erosion at all head walls and filled any in with dirt.
• Checked manhole lids and replaced any broken ones.
• Cut and removed any trees in the vegetation free zone.
• Continue to fill in animal burrows and eliminate anthills as they locate them.
• Spray the rip rap each year for vegetation.
• Mow the levee
• Culverts/discharge pipes have been video inspected and are in good shape.
• The spalls at the head works on the Wet Walnut Creek have been repaired.
• They have tried to limit ATV access to the river to the South Washington entrance.
• Put new locks on all gates and structures.
• The Engineering Department developed formal emergency action plan.
The idea for the levee system, which falls within the city limits, was born following the massive flooding in the summer of 1981. A Corps project, the structures were built in the 1990s.
Officials have noted that the levees have saved the city numerous times from a rising Arkansas River.