Levees and River Channel

Levees keep floodwaters out of the cities

Dams and retarding basins work in conjunction with levees in the downstream cities. MCD’s 55 miles of levee are located in 11 cities from Piqua to Hamilton. Earthen levees keep floodwaters within the river channel through the riverfront cities of Piqua, Troy, Tipp City, Huber Heights, Dayton, Moraine, West Carrollton, Miamisburg, Franklin, Middletown and Hamilton.

Caretakers, who work in each city, maintain the levees and channel by:

  • Mowing grass to ensure proper turf cover.
  • Filling groundhog holes to eliminate seepage paths.
  • Controlling vegetation growth on and around the levees.
  • Repairing riverbank erosion.
  • Removing gravel deposits in the channels.
  • Operating more than 200 floodgates to keep the river from backing up into city streets.
  • Removing drift and debris. Drift and debris can inhibit turf growth, cause erosion and obstruct maintenance activities.

During high-water events, caretakers also:

  • Monitor precipitation and river stages.
  • Read observation wells at the levees to record fluctuations of groundwater pressures.
  • Carry out activities as defined by the Emergency Action Plan for the levees.

Conservatively, the levees reduce flood risk for a total of about $3.2 billion worth of land and buildings (not including personal property or infrastructure). Together, with the dams, the entire system reduces flood risk for about $5 billion worth of land and buildings.*

*These figures are based on 2010 Census. Many cities, in particular, Dayton, have experienced a construction boom (apartments, condominiums, and brownstones). Values for those developments are not included in these figures.