Emergency repairs to an earthen levee that separates dozens of East Palo Alto homes from flood-prone San Francisquito Creek are holding up, city and public safety officials said Wednesday.
Swollen with runoff, the creek briefly flowed over a roughly 600-foot section of the levee between Verbena Drive and Daphne Way at about 8 p.m. Sunday. Mandatory evacuations were ordered for seven homes and at least one was damaged to the point of being uninhabitable.
The California Conservation Corps worked through Christmas Eve and morning to shore up the levee. Based on input from a soils engineer with the state Department of Water Resources, crews piled sandbags on top of the berm and around leaks found near Daphne Way, said City Manager Magda Gonzalez.
"The repairs are working so far," Gonzalez said Wednesday.
East Palo Alto Mayor Ruben Abrica and Menlo Park Fire Protection District Chief Harold Schapelhouman also gave the repairs their stamp of approval and praised the speed at which they were accomplished.
Water levels in the creek have receded since Sunday's flow, which was the third-highest in recorded history. However, Schapelhouman noted that the rainy season is far from over.
"We'll have to pay really close attention to these levees for the rest of the winter," he said.
No further work has been scheduled, but Gonzalez said the city is keeping a close eye on the levee.
Meanwhile, the city is working with San Mateo County and state officials to see whether any funding is available to help pay for the repairs; a cost estimate wasn't immediately available Wednesday afternoon.
The city is also focusing some attention on a concrete-topped levee near University and Woodland avenues, west of Highway 101. The creek overflowed there Sunday night but the flood waters did not threaten any homes.
Long-term fixes are coming to San Francisquito Creek. Set to begin in mid-2013, a flood control project between the freeway and San Francisco Bay will protect homes in East Palo Alto and set the stage for work further upstream.