WDAZ: Your Home Team

Published September 13, 2010, 06:29 PM

Raising the Embankment to Meet Specifications

If you're in the Lake Region, you've probably seen hundreds of trucks driving back and forth, and you will for a while. Companies are working on the embankment that does not meet dam specifications.

Whether you're coming, or going, you'll see trucks hauling dirt.

They're working on the embankment south of Devils Lake.

Because the lake does not have a principal spillway or an emergency spillway the embankment does not meet some requirements.

Mike Grafsgaard, Devils Lake City Engineer, says "the embankment that was constructed and has been built was designed to hold back water to a 1455 feet lake elevation. That's over three feet higher than it is today."

The more than $100 million project is being split into different sections all to be completed within three years.

"The lake continues to rise even though we've done the flood protection around the city theres many areas that are outside of the flood protection that aren't protected that are continuing to be impacted," Grafsgaard said.

Currently there are eight miles of embankment adjacent to Devils Lake, soon there will be 12.

"With the risk that the lake is going to continue to rise we have to make sure that we take the next necessary steps to meet dam safety requirements," Grafsgaard said.

Because water comes into the lake faster than it is let out, the risk is too great.

"I think the risk is unacceptable for the flood protection requirements and therefore in essence we're required at this point to raise the flood protection to offer the additional protection for the city residents as well as the adjoining property," Grafsgaard said.

A lot of work has already been done, but there is much more to do.

"I think there's a lot of work that as to be done, there's a lot of things we probably should be doing," Grafsgaard said.

75% of the project is being paid for by the federal government. The other 25% comes from a non-federal cost-share.