Salina Residents Wonder If A GRDA Levee Will Hold

Thursday, October 8th 2009, 4:51 pm
By: News On 6

By Craig Day, The News On 6

SALINA, OK -- Delays in getting a levee inspection are prompting concerns for some Green Country residents.

FEMA wants the Grand River Dam Authority to certify its levee along Lake Hudson, but many residents say it's taking too long and that could cost them.

Michelle Lee has lived in Salina all her life. She loves being near Lake Hudson but has concerns about a levee on the lake that protects the town.

"I'm concerned about the safety of the levee, and the fact that it could be breached at some point in the future," said Michelle Lee, Salina resident. "Without certification, there's no way to know."

Lee says an inspection would reassure her and other residents about the levee's integrity. Plus, if certification on the levee isn't finished soon, she fears it could require residents all over town to get flood insurance costing hundreds of dollars a year.

"It would be a burden on my family. We've had job loss and currently working different jobs, trying to make ends meet.  It's very difficult right now, and we're not the only family. There are others far worse off than we are," Lee said.

FEMA is asking for certifications of levees all across the nation including this one in Salina. For GRDA, the issue is cost. The Authority says it's seeking an engineering firm to do the work at an acceptable cost.

As for Michelle Lee, she hopes the certification is finished soon, for her pocketbook and her peace of mind.

"That's what the levee was for, to protect the town," said Salina resident Michelle Lee. "So, we're just depending on GRDA to watch out for the citizens of Salina."

GRDA says the delay in getting the certification finished is because they don't have engineers on staff that can do it.