Southern Illinois village at risk if no FEMA levee approval

PRAIRIE DU ROCHER, Ill. (AP) – The fate of a Mississippi River levee that’s awaiting a decision on federal accreditation could put a southern Illinois village at risk of destructive flooding.

Village President Ray Cole says if the levee in Prairie du Rocher loses Federal Emergency Management Agency recognition, homeowners’ flood insurance premiums could spike by double digits from about $400 a year.

The Southern Illinoisan reports that a study by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers found the levee needs millions of dollars in upgrades to meet FEMA regulations on seepage.

The National Flood Insurance Program could decide Prairie du Rocher is a high-risk area. Cole says that change would affect insurance for about 30% of the village’s roughly 250 homes.

A FEMA spokesman says the agency is expected to finalize maps by late 2019.

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