After two costly failures in the last five years officials in Daviess County are looking to get the Bennington Levee certified by the Army Corps of Engineers.
County officials and the Bennington Levee Board have been working with the Corps of Engineers for several months, but so far have not been able to get the federal agency to give its approval to the levee.
“This is something both the county and the levee committee want,” said President of the Daviess County Council Mike Myers.
The reason they want it is because the potential to save hundreds of thousands of dollars on repairs following a failure makes sense. The last breach of the Bennington Levee in March of 2011 cost around $1 million to fix. The county has managed to recover around $600,000 from a lawsuit against several people involved in ditch work near the levee, and the Bennington Levee Committee has approved a special assessment that will pay off most of the remaining money over an 11-year period.
“That’s some serious dollars,” said Myers.
County officials had looked for help from both state and federal sources to cover the cost of those repairs, but had no success. “If that levee had been certified by the corps then we would have been able to get the federal government to help pick up the tab for repairs,” said Myers.
The collapse of the levee in 2011 came just three years after the county had been involved in another big repair job. The county was able to secure some federal assistance to repair the breach in June of 2008.
The Army Corps of Engineers has inspected the levee and produced a list of items that need to be improved in order to receive certification. “We have a check list,” said President of the Daviess County Commissioners Tony Wichman. “I know it has been presented to the levee committee and they are working on it. “