Tulsa levee project rushed because of 'high risk'

Posted at 5:37 PM, Sep 17, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-17 19:22:42-04

TULSA, Okla. — The Army Corps of Engineers released a plan to update Tulsa’s old levee system.

They are rushing the project to reduce the risk for people who live near the levees -- which are 75- years old.

M. Todd Kilpatrick, Levee Commissioner, says, "And all the components that we rely on for public safety are that old. We need to update it and bring it to today's standards to get a better degree of safety -- that's our goal."

Austin Swarthout, co-owner of Sassy's -- a business near the levee system, says, "It held up for us right here pretty well, but I read a lot about how old it is and how it needs to be redone. I know they've been trying to get funding for it, for a long time. I've been hoping they get the funding needed to get this replaced, so we don't have this problem again. Seven days without revenue from this store, it kind of hurt."

A three-year study by the Army Corps of Engineers was cut down to two because of urgency. They are nine months in.

The plan to update Tulsa's levee system calls for: more earth on the backside of the levees, rebuilding pump stations, and two new detention ponds.

The work is expected to start in 2021. It should be finished by 2024.

The community is invited to review and comment on the report through October 18. Comments can be submitted through email to

A public meeting is scheduled for October 8, at 5:30pm at the Case Community Center in Sand Springs.