Final American River levee seepage cutoff wall underway

Published June 3, 2015

SACRAMENTO, California – It's the end of an era for American River levee work as U.S. Army Corps of Engineers contractors began installing the last stretch of seepage cutoff wall at the Natomas East Main Drainage Canal in north Sacramento this week. Once this and related levee work at the city's H Street and Howe Avenue bridges are completed by September, there'll be 24 miles of lower American River levee cutoff walls, helping prevent water from seeping through or underneath.

The Corps and its partners built more than 20 miles of seepage cutoff walls into American River levees between 2000 and 2002, but work at around 30 sites was set aside for later where complicated encroachments existed such as underground utilities, overhead power lines or delicate bridge foundations. The north Sacramento project is complicated by two deactivated sewer lines inside the levee, which must be removed prior to installing the wall.

"This is it as far as American River seepage cutoff wall work is concerned. We'll be turning the page and going on to the next chapter of flood work for Sacramento," said Corps project manager John Hoge. "There’s still a lot of work to do to continue reducing flood risk for Sacramento, but this a huge step forward in that larger effort."

While the cutoff wall work closes out a major effort in reducing Sacramento’s flood risk, much work remains to be done to complete broader plans for modernizing Sacramento’s flood infrastructure. A new spillway at Folsom Dam is on schedule for completion in 2017, and the Corps, Sacramento Area Flood Control Agency and state of California have recently proposed further plans for $1.46 billion of work to continue improving Sacramento levees and to widen the Sacramento River weir and bypass. All of these improvements are necessary to realize the full benefits of any of the individual projects.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Sacramento District provides planning, engineering, project management, environmental restoration and construction services to military and civilian customers in parts of eight western states, including California, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Oregon and Wyoming.

(Natomas East Main Drainage Canal in north Sacramento, California May 28, 2015)

Todd Plain

Release no. 15-022