Army Corps of Engineers will build levee to dry out mudslide debris field

by: Chris Legeros Updated:

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OSO, Wash. - The deadly mudslide that crushed part of the Oso community also blocked some of the Stillaguamish River.  More than 200 acres of land were flooded. 

Just an overnight rainstorm Saturday raised water levels by six inches. 

Owen Carter is with Snohomish County Public Works.

 “The request has come from the responders that this is an area that they would like to have dried out,” said Carter.

 The US Army Corps of Engineers will start working on a temporary solution Monday. It will build an earthen berm or levee that’s 12 feet wide, consisting of rock and gravel. 

 “The berm’s essentially being built between State Route 530 and the original river channel, draining an area between these two, and the water from it will be pumped back over into the river,” said Flood Team Leader Mike Peele.

 By removing water that now flows from five to 10 feet deep over part of the mudslide debris field, searchers may get a better shot of finding some of those still missing in the slide. 

Megs Matthews is with the Joint Information Center at Arlington. 

“Searchers have been able to do what they’re able to from boats, and part of the purpose of this is to allow them and the dogs to be able to actually be on the ground in a way that’s safer,” said Matthews.

The levee will take about a week to complete. 

When asked about the costs, Peele didn’t have details.

“Currently, we’re not too concerned about the cost of it.  We are just trying to get it in place so the searchers can get in there,” said Peele.

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