COPY-River levee near Alton draws concern

Associated Press - December 2, 2009 11:14 AM ET

ALTON, Ill. (AP) - The Army Corps of Engineers expects to decide this month how to best address seepage under a Mississippi River levee near the city of Alton.

As head of the corps' St. Louis district, Col. Thomas O'Hara says there's no imminent threat of the Wood River Levee failing. But he calls work on a permanent solution urgent and says it should start next spring.

O'Hara says the corps would build dikes and increase water levels in the wetland behind the earthen levee. That would create pressure that would stop seepage and any possible undermining of the levee.

O'Hara expects the work would take a matter of months and cost up to $30 million.

He says the corps might be able to transfer money from another project or ask Congress for added appropriations.

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