Bulk of Zoar Levee work wraps up

Bulk of Zoar Levee work wraps up

Image Credit: Lori Feeney

Repair work on the Zoar Levee, which began in earnest in July 2020 with planning dating back several years, is now nearing completion. While there is still some earth-moving equipment in place near the levee at Second Street, the removal of cement silos and other equipment from near First Street in Zoar is a welcome sight to village residents.

Nathan White from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reviewed a schedule of the remaining work needed and took questions from stakeholders during an online meeting on Sept. 1.

According to White, the drilling of the internal erosion interceptor trench and building of a seepage berm to prevent seepage under the levee has been completed, but additional work remains.

What’s to come

Once the IEIT receives final approval and is doing its job correctly, the contractor will place fill material in and perform site restoration.

White said the fill material, which is basically sand, still needs to be trucked in, put in place and then topsoil placed over it.

Todd Newman, a representative of the construction side of the Army Corps, said they will bring that material Sept. 12-29, but that is subject to change if the IEIT does not receive final approval, which no one really foresees.

Newman also said final repaving will take place soon on Fifth and First streets. “Our contractor has asphalt removal taking place from the 19th to the 21st of October, and then from the 24th through the 27th, we’ll be putting the asphalt down,” he said. “On Oct. 20 they will do the pavement markings, which is also subject to change.”

White said the corps will do work after the contract for the IEIT wraps up. That work includes installing 17 new piezometers and automating 23 existing ones for more and faster readings.

According to Seth Lyle with the Army Corps, additional piezometers, which will be used to continually monitor water pressure, will be installed around the end of October or early November.

The installation phase will not last nearly as long as the previous work has, nor will it be as intrusive because the operation involves only hand digging. Once installed, corps personnel at the Dover Dam will download data from the piezometers quarterly.

White also said federal funding has come through for three more relief wells to be installed in spring 2023. Again, White said fewer disruptions would take place with installing the wells.

“It will be a far smaller scale operation than the IEIT,” White said. “You’ll see some drill rigs, but there won’t be as much traffic. They’re not going to be moving in fill or hauling out dump trucks full of sand and gravel.”

A brief history

Water first began seeping under the Zoar Levee in 2005 during heavy flooding. It happened again in 2007. In 2013 residents did not know if the levee would be repaired, if the village would be allowed to flood after being purchased by the government or if the whole town would be moved to higher ground.

After examining all the options, to the relief of many, the Army Corps chose to repair the levee, which protects a National Historic Landmark.

Work began in July 2020 with the creation of a ponding area near the pump station and relief wells to pump excess water to the pond, along with a filter along the base of the station.

The Army Corps and the Zoar Community Association plan to have a celebratory dedication when work wraps up.