SEATTLE - A 200-acre area in the southeastern section of the Oso landslide zone is holding water that's as much as seven feet deep.
Unlike other areas on the western side of the slide, getting rid of water brought in by the North Fork of the Stillaguamish River and by the rain has proved impossible by trying to channel the water away.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is constructing a 2,000-foot long berm to keep any more water out. It will act like a dam, allowing that section to be pumped so more recovery work can continue.
"They felt it as a prime place,” said Snohomish County Engineer Owen Carter, referring to hot spots picked up by dogs specifically trained to find remains. "We want to get the search done as quickly as possible to allow people to recover their family members."
Six hundred feet of the berm is already constructed. Dump trucks bring in crushed gravel and rocks and bulldozers push the rocks further into the watery scene, extending a 12-foot wide road ahead. The Army Corps hopes to have the berm finished soon, but the fact that it has to be built over mud and slide debris could hamper those efforts.
"We're building on some unknown terrain because of the slide and material that's come into that area," said Michael Peele, the Army Corps flood team lead.