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Residents fear worst from aging levees

Tulsa County Levee Commissioner Todd Kilpatrick said he hopes, in the future, the federal government will address high risk levees like the one here in Tulsa County proactively. (KTUL)

The levees in Tulsa County span 20 miles with grassy hills and all kinds of working parts to keep water from spilling over.

They've done good work over the 70 plus years they've been around, but it might not be the case much longer.

Robert Pappin lives just across the street from the levee, and he said even with strong rains, his neighborhood will flood.

"You can't even see the road because of the water," said Pappin.

He can't imagine how things would look if they failed.

"Yeah, that always concerns me. Water can be a monster," said Pappin.

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County officials said they want upgrades to the levees but that costs money.

They were counting on help and money from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, but they recently announced the levees weren't in this year's work plan.

Barbara Roach works at Elite Automotive, just off Charles Page Boulevard, less than a mile from the levee.

She's not too happy about the decision of the Corps.

'It's really frustrating, because by not checking things, making sure what kind of condition they're in, they are putting lives in danger," said Roach.

Deputy Tulsa County Commissioner John Fothergill wasn't too surprised by the Corps' decision.

"Well, it's another delay. We've been here before," said Fothergill, but he said the levee system's clock is ticking.

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"They are rated some of the worst levees in the United States of America, so if we have a major event, we have plans in place to take care of that, but if it gets out of those plans, then we're going to be sunk, so we really need their help," said Fothergill.

Tulsa County Levee Commissioner Todd Kilpatrick said he hopes, in the future, the federal government will address high risk levees like the one here in Tulsa County proactively, because he said cots only go up after a disaster.

The Army Corps of Engineers Tulsa did not return our calls for comment.


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