Len Small Levee breach sonar survey results in

The results are in: a new sonar survey of the Len Small Levee breach that led to massive flooding is now in the hands of Alexander County, Illinois, leaders.

The results will be the playbook for when repairs start.

The Len Small Levee is in rough shape after being ripped apart during the new year’s flood. 

If you wait there long enough, you can see barges and boats passing by, something you normally wouldn’t see.

That large amount of damage is exactly why crews needed the sonar survey conducted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Alexander County Engineer Jeff Denny says the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers ran sonar through the breach to find our what kind of damage they’re dealing with.

"When a levee fails like that, the water rushing in will cut holes. That’s what this showed. How big they were, how deep they were, to give us some idea of what repair-wise you’re going to have to do," said Denny.

Denny says the flooding took out tree lines and wiped out big chunks of where the levee should be standing, but the survey shows the damage could have been much worse.

 "Yeah, I mean there’s some places where it’s scoured out 30 feet, which is not good. But the area, it’s not 100 acres that deep like it was in ’93," Denny said.

But, snowy, icy and just plain cold conditions mean crews may not be able to fix that levee breach until after spring flooding.

"The only problem is if the water is potentially going to flow back through there in the spring, it could increase," Denny said.

Unable to do many repairs until conditions warm up and dry out, the county is in limbo.

The next step, Denny says, is waiting for a prioritized list of repairs to the levee so they can start working. He says spring flooding season is already creeping up on them, so farmers and county crews will likely start working soon to make sure their homes are safe.

 County leaders say in 2011, farmers repaired much of the levee damage. Many in the area say they plan on helping out again.

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