Homeless encampments along California levees may be weakening them, officials warn


Thousands of residents in Northern California may be threatened by flooding in the future by levees weakened not by weather but people living on them.

Homeless encampments that have popped up along the sides of levees in Sacramento and San Joaquin counties are creating damage to the flood control structures, as some residents dig into the slope to create a flat surface to put their tents up.

But those cuts into the earthen levees may ultimately end up compromising the structural integrity of the mounds when floodwaters rise, according to Tim Kerr, the general manager for the American River Flood Control District.

“You can have wind and wave action battering into the cut and that could weaken the soil and cause chunks of the levee to slip away,” Kerr told FOX40.

Kevin King, the general manager for Reclamation District 1000 which manages levees along the Sacramento River, told CBS13 that holes are often hard to spot because of all the trash and other debris associated with the encampments.

“There may be things going on underneath the tarps and tents that are covered up that we just can’t monitor,” King said.

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