Vincennes begins last phase of levee project

The city is working to get its levee certified by FEMA in order to save homeowners money.

Posted: May 16, 2019 6:24 PM

VINCENNES, Ind. (WTHI) - Crews were hard at work Thursday along the city's levee. Ground samples were being collected. All in the hopes of finding out where water is seeping through.

Levee superintendent Hunter Pinnell says, "We have to replace thirty relief wells along this section of the levee and we've looked at several ways we could do that. And the best way we've come up with is to construct what's called a cut off wall or a sheet pile wall on the river side of the levee."

Water currently can seep underneath a long stretch of the levee. The project hopes to put up a barrier to stop this seepage. Once the project is done the levee will be certified and residents won't see a difference. However, if the certification doesn't come, well that's a different story.

Vincennes Mayor Joe Yochum says, "You know FEMA and the DNR are redoing the flood maps. And we're one of the last three counties that will be completed. Without that certification, it's as if there is no levee there at all."

Being left off the flood map would have huge ramifications for residents living in the city limits. Nearly three-quarters of homeowners with mortgages would have to purchase flood insurance. But as crews begin the first few stages of work, city leaders are confident that won't happen.

Yochum says, "I'm not worried that our levee won't be certified. We'll get this work done and we'll stay certified."

Pinnell explains, "We're going to get certified. I mean we have to. Being taken off of the FEMA flood maps and not achieving that rating and providing protection we've never considered that. It's just we're going to do it."

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