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The Making of a levee
Sacramento—San Joaquin Delta Levees Construction
Many levees in the Sacramento—San Joaquin Delta were originally built a hundred or more years ago. These construction techniques utilized very little engineering knowledge or forethought. Material that was existing in the immediate area was the material utilized for the construction in that location. Different locations had soils with different properties. The individuals who were reclaiming the various portions of the delta had different training, knowledge and abilities. No two lengths of levee have identical construction.
Additionally the levees are home to a multitude of plants, insects, reptiles, birds and mammals.
Levees undergo severe climatic changes. Years of drought are followed by times of extreme high water levels and flows.
Over the past decade a large amount of repairs utilizing proper engineering procedures and analysis has been done. But the fact remains the original levee structures and interior were and still are still a mystery. These original levees did and still do make up a large portion of the “new” levee interior. There are many methods that have been utilized to examine or attempt to define the interior structure of the levees. Excavation, borings and historical research are only some of the methods used.
There are over two thousand miles of levee in the Sacramento – San Joaquin Delta. Every single mile is crucial to the health and survival of the Delta. It is from this delta that a huge amount of drinking water for a large percentage of Californians is derived.
Many of the levees were constructed using peat or the soil that was available was placed on old tulles that can and do rot and then create voids in the levee interior. Voids and tunneling from rodents can create a disaster when they occur in the same location.
Many of the old pipes that were installed have failed and were abandoned many years ago. Most were not removed and some can still and do allow water to enter the levee interior and create an unstable levee condition.
By utilizing subsurface conductivity studies performed by CSI, the reclamation districts and their engineers can medagate many of these problems at an affordable price.
CSI has records of studies performed back in the 80’s and now a full study includes observations from the previous studies versus the present studies.
Contact CSI today if you'd like to learn more about our services
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