News Release Manager

MEDIA ALERT: Port Commission, Corps of Engineers to cut ribbon marking completion of new flood protection features for Presidents Island industrial area

Published Sept. 14, 2018
Ensley Relief Wells Location

Ensley Relief Wells Location

Who: Memphis & Shelby County Port Commission (Executive Director Randy Richardson) and Memphis District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (District Commander Col. Mike Ellicott)

What: Ribbon cutting ceremony to mark completion of 121 relief wells to protect the Frank C. Pidgeon Industrial Area on Presidents Island from Mississippi River flooding. 

When: Sept. 18, 2018 at 9 a.m. 

Where: On levee running along southern perimeter of industrial area (see directions and map). 

Why: During the historic flood of 2011, the Corps of Engineers and local officials observed a significant and potentially dangerous level of underseepage in the form of sand boils on the landside of the Ensley Levee that protects the Frank C. Pidgeon Industrial Area. If left unchecked this could have resulted in a catastrophic levee failure. 

In order to counter this dangerous underseepage, the Memphis District awarded a contract to install 121 relief wells along the levee. These wells serve as relief valves when flood waters rise on the river side of the levee and seeps through the permeable layers beneath the structure. During periods of flood or high water, these relief wells will collect the water flowing beneath the levee and provide a controlled, safe outlet for the seepage, preventing it from displacing more and more sand and soil from the foundation. Drilling depths for the wells ranged from 90 to 125 feet. 

Construction began in the late summer of 2016 and wrapped up last month. The Memphis & Shelby County Port Commission is the local sponsor for this cost-shared, $4.5 million project.

Directions to ribbon cutting site: 

Starting from Downtown Memphis: Merge onto I-240S and continue onto 55 South toward Jackson Mississippi.

Take exit 2A to merge onto TN-175 East / East Shelby Drive toward Capleville.

Continue down Shelby Drive approximately 9 miles until you reach a gravel road and railroad crossing.  

Follow Corps of Engineers signs to ceremony site.   

If you need assistance, call 901-828-0152.

Jim Pogue
901-828-0152 (cell)

Release no. 18-051