Levee Construction Could Start By Summer 2022

Planning for additional levees in Trion is underway and construction could start as early as the summer of 2022, according to local officials.
Federal, state and local officials met in Trion last month to discuss options of reducing the flooding caused by the Chattooga River and its 172 square-mile watershed.
“We’ve been very, very lucky,” Trion Mayor Larry Stansell said about recent flooding.
Last month after more than 5” of rainfall sent floodwaters to the back of Trion’s recreation department, people feared the water would spill over the top of the existing levee along First and Second Streets.
“The state and feds have thrown tremendous resources at identifying the problem and solutions to our flooding. They are looking at several options,” Mayor Stansell said.
The Federal government hired Golder Associates, an engineering firm, to look at various solutions. They’ve been looking at a mixture of ideas including, earthen levees, concrete levees, retention ponds, diverting Chappell Creek downstream and clearing the Chattooga River banks.
Mayor Stansell even suggested the idea of dredging (deepening the river).
“They said you will never get that by the environmentalists,” Mayor Stansell said.
While construction won’t start until mid-2022, the mayor has a plan that might help along the way.
He wants to clear the riverbanks of debris. He believes this will help with the river’s flow. The state, however, forbids people disturbing the riverbanks. There is a law that forbids anyone removing vegetation along a 25-foot buffer zone that starts at the water’s edge.
“They told us that they would work to get that restriction waived so we could clear the riverbank,” Mayor Stansell said. “I told them I wanted that in writing so that we didn’t get into any trouble. Once we get that, we can start.”
The United States Department of Agriculture is paying for most of this project.
“There is no local money, very little if any state money going into this project,” Chattooga County Commissioner Jason Winters said. “The federal government is helping us with this project.”
The engineering work will cost $1.125 million. The construction of the project is likely to cost $10 million to $13 million. It could include anti-flooding measures on both the north and south sides of the Chattooga River between the dam above Mount Vernon Mills and the treatment plant.
Planners will look at ways to protect Mount Vernon Mills and private property.
Winters said the USDA signed a contract with Georgia’s Soil and Water Conservation Commission to administer the federal funds. Winters said the funding for the study and the future construction would not require any local matching funds.
Winters said state and national officials recognized the precarious situation in Trion, where Mount Vernon Mills – one of the largest employers in the region — has been shut down at times in the past because of flooding.

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