Santa Maria Levee Repair Design
As a result of an assessment of flood control structures across the United States, the Santa Maria River levee in the central California valley was listed as a levee "at risk of failure" in 2006. Built between 1959 and 1963, this 26-mile long levee was no longer able to meet its original flood protection goals. As the largest city in Santa Barbara County, Santa Maria had grown to a population of nearly 100,000 by 2010, with development lining both sides of the Santa Maria River. If Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) flood maps were revised in response to the "risk of failure" designation, homeowners would be required to purchase expensive flood insurance policies.
We helped develop design alternatives for levee repairs and worked with the U.S. Corps of Engineers to design 1,700 feet of sheet pile wall and additional reinforcement using "soil cement," a mix of pulverized soil, cement and water to strengthen nearly seven miles of the levee. As a federal stimulus-funded project, the levee repairs are boosting local employment, with a $65 million impact on the local economy.