When The Levee Breaks

When the Levee Breaks is one of my favorite Led Zeppelin songs, but I wish to never have to sing the lyrics myself. Before I comment about the East Hartford dike system, I have to note that Led Zeppelin didn’t write the song, but according to the Wikipedia entry, husband and wife team, Kansas Joe McCoy and Memphis Minnie did. Of course, it isn’t the only song that Robert Plant and Jimmy Page “borrowed.”

We don’t want to see the levee in East Hartford, Connecticut, break, but thanks to this post-Katrina world, we have to consider what would happen if a “100 year flood” hit our community. Horst Engineering is only 800 feet from the Connecticut River. A dike system built in 1943, protects our neigbhorhood and other parts of East Hartford from the devastating flooding that occurred in 1934 and 1936. Prior to the dike, there were no businesses in the North Meadows where our company is located. Much has been written about the potential “de-certification” of the levee system, by the Army Corps of Engineers. On Tuesday 6 November, there will be a bond referendum to authorize funding for the repair of the dike. A Yes vote authorizes the funding. Of course, the catch is that only residents can vote. The valuable business assets of Horst Engineering and our neighbors are at risk should the dike fail. Of course, that would be a worst case scenario. Still bad, would be the requirement that we obtain flood insurance to insure the risk. We are hoping to avoid the extra insurance premiums and we certainly don’t want to experience a levee break.

Horst Engineering viewed in Google Earth.

I was interviewed by Ben Rubin of the Journal Inquirer, for an article that was published this past weekend. I think that I represent all of the business owners and residents who are in the flood plain, when I say that we need to avoid additional costs and that the levee needs to be repaired to today’s standards. None of us want to hear Robert Plant or Kansas Joe McCoy wailing about a levee break.

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