The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) mandated the Alameda County Flood Control and Water Conservation District to assess and certify all levees within its jurisdiction. The District’s facilities include 272 miles of open channels, rivers, and creeks. Kleinfelder helped secure certification of approximately 22 miles of levees.
Certifying FEMA’s initial requirement—18.5 miles of levees—could carry high construction costs should each levee require mitigation. Coordination and cooperation with various regulatory agencies—including FEMA, the Department of Water Resources (DWR), and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE)—was critical to successful project phasing and planning. The project’s sensitive environmental area with strict non-encroachment criteria required tight construction conditions and costly methods for remediating underseepage during a 100-year flood event.
Kleinfelder’s extensive field exploration and laboratory testing program reduced the areas of final mitigation to less than one mile of levee, lowering potential construction costs from $90 million to $5 million. Kleinfelder helped identify deficiencies, recommended mitigation alternatives, and assisted with final construction—all without impacting adjacent wetlands. Furthermore, Kleinfelder helped obtain DWR grants, secure approvals of proposed remediations from the San Francisco District’s USACE, and maintaine a solid working relationship with FEMA.
Kleinfelder’s engineering analyses reduced the levee certification requirements by nearly 95 percent, saving the client $85 million. Securing DWR grants enabled the District to recoup more than $1 million in project costs. Kleinfelder’s innovative approach to engineering investigation and analysis resulted in FEMA certification of the entire levee system in 2011.