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Safety Certification Back On Track For Salina Levee

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Certification of the Salina dike should cost $220,000, the GRDA states. Certification of the Salina dike should cost $220,000, the GRDA states.
The delay in certification worried some Salina residents who feared the levee might not hold. The delay in certification worried some Salina residents who feared the levee might not hold.

NewsOn6.com

SALINA, OK -- The Grand River Dam Authority is moving ahead with certification work on the Salina Dam, calling the effort a victory in efforts to control costs and fulfill safety requirements for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

FEMA had requested certifications of levees all across the nation including the one in Salina.

In February, the GRDA tabled an engineering firm's proposal to complete the certification for $300,000 in hopes of securing the work for a lower price, according to GRDA Chief Executive Officer Kevin Easley.

Some Salina residents expressed concern over the safety of the dam as certification was delayed.

Related Story 10/8/2009: Salina Residents Wonder If A GRDA Levee Will Hold

In October, the board approved a $220,000 work order for the project, and GRDA has secured a firm for that amount.

"We view this as great news, not only for the Town of Salina and GRDA but also for our ratepayers," Easley said. "We were able to save our ratepayers $80,000, and that is very significant."

Earlier in December, Cranston Engineering began the work and "they are making great progress," according to GRDA Corporate Communications Director Justin Alberty.

FEMA has given GRDA a deadline of March 2011 to secure the certification. They expect to have the compliance documentation to FEMA well before that deadline.

Alberty said GRDA understood the concern many Salina residents showed while it searched for a firm to do the work at an acceptable cost.

"We realize how important this certification is to Salina," he said, "but it was necessary to secure this work at a cost GRDA could justify to the ratepayers who ultimately pay for this."

The Salina dam was built by the GRDA in the 1960s to protect Salina from the waters of Lake Hudson. It was one of the levees marked for new certification after the breach of several levees in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina.

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