Broken levee near Sanger will take a week to repair (video)

The Fresno BeeJuly 7, 2014 

Repairs began Monday and are expected to last seven days on the Alta Irrigation District's main canal, which ruptured east of Sanger on Sunday, briefly threatening to flood five homes.

Officials began surveying the damage and preparing for the earthen canal's repairs.

Investigators determined that the levee ruptured after wild pigs dug into the canal bank.

"We saw evidence that they dug into the canal around 6 p.m. last night," Chris Kapheim, general manager of Alta Irrigation District, said Monday.

The main canal delivers water from Pine Flat Reservoir to farmers in Fresno, Tulare and Kings counties.

Irrigation water for farmers will be delayed while repairs are being made, Kapheim said.

Workers will truck-in loads of dirt to compact a soil sub-base to repair the section. The repairs will cost $50,000, Kapheim said.

On Sunday, water spilled out onto Highway 180 and nearby farms after the levee broke. At the time of the breakage, 250 cubic feet per second of water was flowing in the canal. Kapheim did not have a total amount of water that was lost.

CalFire officials performed an emergency shutdown to keep the flooding to a minimum.

Kapheim said levee breaks have happened in the past on the main canal. However, he didn't expect the levee to break at that location.


The reporter can be reached at smartin@fresnobee.com or @SharonBMartin on Twitter.

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