"The 2011 Missouri River Flood: Flood Fight Operations, Emergency Repairs and Recovery"

2012 Association of State Floodplain Managers Annual Conference, San Antonio, TX
May 23, 2012
By Vicki Twerdochlib, PE, CFM

The city of Council Bluffs implemented emergency operations before the magnitude of the flood reached the USGS Omaha gage. The city requested assistance for 28.5 miles of levee, with area consultants providing flood risk reduction, effects from the high groundwater levels from the sustained flood, emergency pump station repairs and assistance with monitoring flood effects. In addition to the levees, the city has 16 stormwater pump stations, 45 gate structures and 173 relief wells. HDR assisted the city with levee assessment, geotechnical expertise, overnight flood response teams and emergency design assistance as requested. HDR utilized staff from Omaha and six other offices for seven-day–per-week coverage of levee assessment services, engineering services and geotechnical assistance. These services were used to assist the city for coordination with USACE and preparation of emergency design services for pump stations, roads, levee seepage repairs and temporary pumping.

Once flood levels receded, the city of Council Bluffs began recovery efforts. The city had begun looking into levee certification efforts of the five levee systems before this summer's flood. One of the five levee systems is the Industrial Park Levee, or IPL. The IPL was originally constructed by the city with close coordination with the local property owners at the time in 1980-1981. The city asked HDR to assist with the certification efforts. HDR defined a five-phase approach to the project, including:

  • Phase I: Conduct Damage Assessment
  • Phase II: Construct Damage Assessment Recommendations
  • Phase III: Perform Certification Analyses
  • Phase IV: Design, Permit, and Construct Levee Improvements
  • Phase V: Submit Levee Certification Packages

HDR has completed Phase I, has advised on Phase II services and is currently negotiating Phase III services.