"The flood study that was started in July of last year is being wrapped up and the final report is being prepared. As we all know there's a deadline of April 15th to certify the levy and flood wall system that there is no deficiencies and meets all the standards," Rick Duncan, Director of Wastewater for the city of Portsmouth said while addressing Portsmouth City Council. "They discovered there is about 7,000 feet of the levy where the soil on the land side is to thin to resist the water pressure as the river rises it also raises from the aquifer underneath the city that would push up the soil on the city side."
Duncan said the thin soil is likely from the original design of the levy. He said that does not meet current standards.
He said the effected area is from Shawnee State University to McGovney's dock.
"It's a pretty substantial area, it does not seem particle to import any soil to hold that dirt layer down," Duncan said.
He said if the issue is not addressed water could start to seep into the city from under the levy.
"There's two options to address this, one is to import rock and soil to fill that space. the other option is to put in pressure relief wells. These are wells that would be drilled into the aquifer. As the river would come up, water would be pumped out of those wells and pumped back into the river," Duncan said. "That would relieve the pressure that would build up on the land side of the levy."
"That particular problem is the major deficiency . They found some other deficiencies in the mechanics of the levy of the and flood wall," Duncan said.
He said most of the smaller deficiencies can be fixed in house.
"The major deficiency can not be fixed in house, it will take a major project. The very very rough estaminets range from $1-$3 million for that pumping system," Duncan said.
He said the relief wells and other improvements that will likely be done with city employees will allow the levy to be certified at the 100 year flood level. "It won't necessarily address all the problems we have in the system, which would be another project that would be important for the long term upkeep of the system," Duncan said.
"If we are not certified, anyone with a federally backed loan in a certain area of the city would have to get flood insurance," Duncan said. "Right now it's not a requirement because the levy is there and is considered to be certified at this point."
The city and the village will have 18 months from April 15th to complete necessary work in the flood wall to allow it to be certified.
"New Boston is going through the same process we are, if for some reason they weren't certified, we (city of Portsmouth) would not be able to be certified.
The city in March passed a budget with a deficit of $1.14 million dollars. Duncan said he would gather more information about a plan to move forward and how to pay for it.