Brookport levee declared unacceptable

By Arnold Wyrick
BROOKPORT, IL (KFVS) -The declaration by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that the Brookport levee is unacceptable places the town and those who live there in jeopardy.
This is the sixth year the Corps of Engineers have declared the levee unacceptable.  The city has failed to keep up with the operation and maintenance of the levee in recent years.
Construction on the levee began in 1940.  The city took over operation and maintenance of the levee in 1949.
Inspectors cite two major problems with the structural integrity of the levee.  The drainage pipes installed during construction are rusting out.  Over the decades numerous trees have grown up along the levee banks.
"Both of those issues must be corrected before the agency will be able to declare the levee's ability to hold back flood waters to an acceptable level," said Dan Franks with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Louisville District Office.
It's estimated to cost more than $1 million just to fix the problems with the drain pipes in the levee.
"They're wanting us to put new pipes in which we don't have the money to do.  And with a population of just over 1100 people we don't have the tax base to even consider selling bonds to cover the repair problems with our levee," said Brookport Mayor Ada Copley.
Some people still question why the city has fallen so far behind on maintaining the levee.
"The levee evidently been broke for years.  Why haven't they done something before this?  Somebody is not doing their job.  And I think we matter here, and other levees are getting fixed," said Gloria Shanon of Brookport.
The mayor is well aware of the citizens' concerns.  She too is worried about what could happen in the event of major flood.
"There's nothing that would be left if we have a major flood, nothing would be left here in Brookport," Mayor Copley said.