St. Louis Public Radio News
3:41 pm
Wed September 8, 2010

New levee funding group forms in Metro East

ST. LOUIS – Another group is forming in the Metro East to deal with the area's aging levee system and the possibility the federal government could make the region a high-risk flood zone.

The designation as a "high-risk" zone could mean mandatory flood insurance and difficulty getting bank loans for area residents and businesses.

Les Sterman heads the area's flood prevention council. While his group figures out how to fix the levees, Sterman said the new St. Louis Metro East Levee Issues Alliance will try to delay a federal hazard zone designation. It includes many civic and business leaders.

"This is a group that formed essentially to advocate for funding for those improvements," Sterman said, "for more helpful policies from the federal government in terms of flood insurance."

Sterman said a basic fix for the east side levees would cost about $150 million.

There's already a sales tax to pay for repairs. And, according to Sterman, bonds could be issued as soon as November.