The Valley Park levee has been a tense and bitter debate since historic flooding hit the area twice in 18 months during 2015 and 2017. With any major forecasted rain or storm event, the threat of flooding is always on the minds of local residents.
This weekend, heavy rain is predicted as the last of tropical storm Gordon pushes its way into the Midwest. (September 2018)
Environmental Echo has posted several stories and updates about the local flooding situations related to the Valley Park levee issue in the past and we wanted to share a comprehensive piece of investigative journalism we ran across from ProPublica.
Local environmentalists say there are more sewage spills, property damage and flood cleanups in our future because of construction in floodplains, loss of wetlands and new levees. They say the Valley Park levee was built anywhere from five to eight feet higher than authorized and is the culprit in unprecedented flooding along the Meramec River in late 2015 and 2016 in Kirkwood, Sunset Hills, Fenton and farther downstream.
And now, after hiring a civil engineering firm to take measurements of the levee, they say they have proof that the levee was build beyond authorized specifications. They are sharing the latest findings about the levee with city officials and property owners who sustained flood damage, but say it is too early to speculate on what legal actions might result with the latest findings showing the levee height exceeds authorized levels.
Be sure to listen to a podcast interview from January of this year with Bob Criss at the end of this article. He explains why the continued development and levee construction could make flooding worse in the coming years.