Checking For Dike Breaches - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Checking For Dike Breaches

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Crews have been working for almost 24-hours now on emergency levees along 2nd street in Downtown Fargo. But it's more than piling up the clay and dirt, engineers have to worry about if it's all being done correctly.

Engineers have a hard job protecting the city from a constantly moving river, but thankfully they do it enough and know what to look for if levees start to have a problem.

"We need to inspect them to make sure they are holding up." says area sub-engineer Paul Machajewski. 

Many people think a clay levee would be easy to make but from experienced contractors they say it's always a big job to be sure it's done right.

"We want to make sure that they are the right width, and the right slopes on the side so they are as stable as can be, now they are just emergency levees they are here just to hold back this rush of water, and then it's going to go away and so will the clay dikes." says Machajewski.

But water is a tricky thing to be working with.

"we have to make sure that culverts are blocked off and irrigation systems are shut off so the water can't find that easy path to get onto the dry side."

and if engineers aren't careful enough... A breached levee could let all the moving water into the city...but they are trained in what to look for.

"We're looking for signs of stress which would be cracking, we want to make sure they don't peel away like a banana, if they start doing that then the levee starts getting narrower and narrower, and there could be a vulnerability with the levee there." Machajewski says.

They keep their eyes on the levees to keep the protection strong.

"Then we'll also look on the dry side, to make sure there's not water getting under somehow, and starting to flood things out that it shouldn't be doing." Machajewski says.

Engineers say things like animals and even people are a risk to levees, because they can create a path for the water to follow. The emergency levee on 2nd street should be finished in another two days.


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