Vandals damage multimillion-dollar flood wall in Washington

AUBURN, Wash. --

Workers are repairing continuing damage to the Green River flood wall in Auburn damaged by vandals, reported KIRO 7 Eyewitness News.

Large gashes were found in the huge sand bags and the plastic covering them that comprise the flood wall. The damage appears to have been caused by vandals using knives and lighters.

Though much of the damage has been patched, the wall continues to be weakened by ongoing tampering.

The multimillion-dollar flood wall was installed because of the weakened Howard Hanson Dam upstream. Officials said if the flood wall fails, water would flood nearby neighborhoods and apartments.

The sandbags are supposed to last five to seven years and are designed to be biodegradable and disintegrate over time in the sunlight. They have been covered with black plastic to extend their life. Both that plastic and the sandbags underneath are being slashed.

"We want people to stay away from it. The danger is to (the vandals) because they could fall off, but also to the neighborhood. Until the dam is fixed, these are what protect the neighborhoods from high-water events," said Sarah Miller with Auburn Emergency Preparedness.

Residents are on the lookout for anyone tampering with the flood wall.

The King County prosecutor said anyone caught tampering with the wall could be charged with a felony.

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