Waitsburg levee system 'minimally acceptable'

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WAITSBURG -- The Waitsburg levee system has been rated "minimally acceptable" after a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers inspection.

The rating means the city, which maintains the levees, remains eligible to apply for federal rehabilitation assistance if the system is damaged by a flood or storm, said Herb Bessey, levee safety program manager for the Corps' Walla Walla District.

In a release, Bessey said although an executive summary recommended the system be rated "unacceptable," a plan to complete maintenance on the levees by 2012 means the current rating will be continued if the city makes progress.

The levee system begins on the left bank of the Touchet River upstream of the Preston Avenue Bridge in Waitsburg and ends near the wastewater treatment plant. The upstream portions of the project were built in 1933 and the downstream portions in 1951.

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