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LA District protects critical infrastructure during Duncan flood fight

Published Nov. 4, 2022
A driver navigates a washed-out road Oct. 5 in Duncan Arizona. The town was still saturated with water from an Aug. 22 flood event.

A driver navigates a washed-out road Oct. 5 in Duncan Arizona. The town was still saturated with water from an Aug. 22 flood event.

The small town of Duncan, Arizona, is subject to frequent flooding Oct. 4, along the Gila River. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles District contractors built a reinforced embankment to protect the town’s wastewater treatment station against flooding. Since Aug. 22, Duncan has been subjected to periodic flooding.

The small town of Duncan, Arizona, is subject to frequent flooding Oct. 4, along the Gila River. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles District contractors built a reinforced embankment to protect the town’s wastewater treatment station against flooding. Since Aug. 22, Duncan has been subjected to periodic flooding.

The small town of Duncan, Arizona, is subject to frequent flooding Oct. 4, along the Gila River. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles District contractors built a reinforced embankment to protect the town’s wastewater treatment station against flooding.

The small town of Duncan, Arizona, is subject to frequent flooding Oct. 4, along the Gila River. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles District contractors built a reinforced embankment to protect the town’s wastewater treatment station against flooding.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles District Project Engineer David Silvertooth and Quality Assurance Representative Clinton Griffin observe construction reinforced embankment to protect critical infrastructure against flooding Oct. 5 in Duncan, Arizona. The embankment protects the town’s wastewater treatment station from similar flooding events.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles District Project Engineer David Silvertooth and Quality Assurance Representative Clinton Griffin observe construction reinforced embankment to protect critical infrastructure against flooding Oct. 5 in Duncan, Arizona. The embankment protects the town’s wastewater treatment station from similar flooding events.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles District contractors construct a reinforced embankment to protect critical infrastructure against flooding Oct. 5 in Duncan, Arizona. Large stones and rocks are used with sand and soil in a process called rip rap to strengthen embankments dikes and levees.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles District contractors construct a reinforced embankment to protect critical infrastructure against flooding Oct. 5 in Duncan, Arizona. Large stones and rocks are used with sand and soil in a process called rip rap to strengthen embankments dikes and levees.

Clinton Griffin, quality assurance representative with the Los Angeles District, observes embankment construction Oct. 4 in Duncan, Arizona. Clinton deployed along the Gila River to support emergency flood response efforts after severe flooding damaged critical infrastructure in in the small eastern Arizona town.  Clinton has been a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers employee for more 12 years.

Clinton Griffin, quality assurance representative with the Los Angeles District, observes embankment construction Oct. 4 in Duncan, Arizona. Clinton deployed along the Gila River to support emergency flood response efforts after severe flooding damaged critical infrastructure in in the small eastern Arizona town. Clinton has been a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers employee for more 12 years.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles District contractors build an embankment with armament to protect a wastewater treatment station against flooding Oct. 4 in Duncan, Arizona. Since Aug. 22, Duncan has been subjected to periodic flooding.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles District contractors build an embankment with armament to protect a wastewater treatment station against flooding Oct. 4 in Duncan, Arizona. Since Aug. 22, Duncan has been subjected to periodic flooding.

DUNCAN, Arizona – The small eastern Arizona town of Duncan, home to about 800 people, suffered damage to homes and critical infrastructure after the Gila River flooded in late August.

The severe flooding led the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles District to build a reinforced embankment to protect a wastewater treatment station in the town Oct. 3-14.

“This project will prevent damage to the treatment facility from similar flood events,” said David Silvertooth, a district project engineer. “We are providing protection to a critical public infrastructure using emergency management authority Public Law 84-99.”

Under Public Law 84-99, Emergency Response to Natural Disasters, the Corps can provide both emergency technical and direct assistance in response to flood and coastal storms, such as hurricanes and nor’easters. 

Duncan Town Manager Terry Hinton said that after talking with Silvertooth about the Corps’ emergency management process and policies he felt comfortable about the project.

“I think what the Corps is doing out there is good for protecting the plant,” said Hinton. “There were a couple of levees near the wastewater plant that washed away, and it got dangerously close to taking out the treatment station. I think another flood event would have taken it out.”

Although the major storm and flooding happened Aug. 22, the soil around the Gila River remained saturated for about two months. Intermittent storms continued to threaten homes and wash away roads.

 On Oct. 4, the Corps’ second day of construction, morning rain shut down roads and the project site. Hinton described road conditions during the safety standdown.

“Today, they suspended the work because of the rainstorms,” Hinton said. “The roads were slick and muddy and you have all of these trucks carrying these heavy rocks; it’s easy to tip over.”

Despite the storms, the district completed its mission to deliver bold solutions to serve and strengthen all communities, by completing the reinforced embankment around the town’s wastewater treatment station Oct. 14.

“I’m happy that we could protect critical public infrastructure for the town of Duncan.” Silvertooth said.

For more information about LA District’s programs and projects, visit https://www.spl.usace.army.mil.