King County scrambles to protect town of Pacific from floods

by: Graham Johnson Updated:


PACIFIC, Wash. - King County is quickly building temporary barriers in the town of Pacific, trying to prevent the repeat of a devastating flood in 2009.

County engineers say a higher-than-expected amount of sediment has built up in the White River near Pacific, raising the river bottom and making floods more likely.

Since 4 feet of floodwater appeared suddenly in Pacific in January 2009 when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers released too much water from Mud Mountain Dam in a storm, temporary barriers were installed to reduce the flood risk.

This year's sediment buildup alarmed engineers enough that the county approved a $425,000 temporary fix to extend and heighten the existing barriers.

That work will be completed in the next couple of weeks.

"We are doing what we can today, while the sun shines, to keep this community safe," said county executive Dow Constantine.

The county says a permanent fix will cost nearly $30 million and be ready in about five years. That will involve new levees on the west side of the river and moving an existing levy on the east side farther back from the riverbank to allow a place for sediment to harmlessly collect.


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