Skip to comments.KATRINA FOLLOW-UP: WHO BOMBED THE LEVEE?
Posted on 12/01/2005 9:35:07 AM PST by stm
Um, no one.
Sorry to disappoint the moonbats and Mother Ship riders, but the flooding of New Orleans wasn't a Republican conspiracy to kill black people. Via Paul at Wizbang, Bob Marshall of the New Orleans Time-Picayune penned a summary yesterday of the real reasons for the failure of the 17th Street Canal levee in New Orleans:
The floodwall on the 17th Street Canal levee was destined to fail long before it reached its maximum design load of 14 feet of water because the Army Corps of Engineers underestimated the weak soil layers 10 to 25 feet below the levee, the state's forensic levee investigation team concluded in a report to be released this week. That miscalculation was so obvious and fundamental, investigators said, they "could not fathom" how the design team of engineers from the corps, local firm Eustis Engineering and the national firm Modjeski and Masters could have missed what is being termed the costliest engineering mistake in American history.
The failure of the wall and other breaches in the city's levee system flooded much of New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina slammed ashore Aug. 29, prompting investigations that have raised questions about the basic design and construction of the floodwalls.
"It's simply beyond me," said Billy Prochaska, a consulting engineer in the forensic group known as Team Louisiana. "This wasn't a complicated problem. This is something the corps, Eustis, and Modjeski and Masters do all the time. Yet everyone missed it -- everyone from the local offices all the way up to Washington."
Team Louisiana, which consists of six LSU professors and three independent engineers, reached its conclusions by plugging soil strength data available to the corps into the engineering equations used to determine whether a wall is strong enough to withstand the force of rising water caused by a hurricane.
"Using the data we have available from the corps, we did our own calculations on how much water that design could take in these soils before failure," said LSU professor Ivor van Heerden, a team member. "Our research shows it would fail at water levels between 11 and 12 feet -- which is just what happened" in Katrina.
The screw-up, according to academic and professional investigators cited by Marshall, was that the sheet piling used to support the floodwalls was too short:
The corps has long claimed the sheet piling was driven to 17.5 feet deep, but Team Louisiana recently used sophisticated ground sonar to prove it was only 10 feet deep. Van Heerden said Team Louisiana's latest calculations prove investigators' claims that a depth of 17 feet would have made little difference. He said the team ran the calculations for sheet piles at 17 feet and 16 feet deep, and the wall still would have failed at a load of 11 to 12 feet of water.
Investigators have been puzzled by the corps' design since it was made public in news reports. They said it was obvious the weak soils in the former swampland upon which the canal and levee were built clearly called for sheet piles driven much deeper than the canal bottom. It was not a challenging engineering problem, investigators said.
Prochaska said a rule of thumb is that the length of sheet piling below a canal bottom should be two to three times longer than the length extending above the canal bottom.
"That's if you have uniform soils, and we certainly don't have that in the New Orleans area," he said. "It kind of boggles the mind that they missed this, because it's so basic, and there were so many qualified engineers working on this."
According to records cited by Marshall, the Army Corps of Engineers reviewed and approved the flawed design plans.
In the immediate aftermath of Katrina, some liberals blamed levee failures on budget cuts supposedly pushed through by George W. Bush. But according to the Washington Post, reports of levee problems began to surface in the mid-1990s, before the floodwalls were even completed. The timeline is sketchy, but it looks like the flawed design plans were approved about two decades ago.
For the mathematically-challenged, that's more than 10 years before Dubya was elected President.
* * *
In a separate article published November 19, Marshall reported that levee leaks were reported to the New Orleans Sewerage & Water Board a year ago. City officials neither took action nor bothered to report the leaks to the Army Corps of Engineers:
A year ago Beth LeBlanc and her neighbors on Bellaire Drive had a problem no one could seem to fix. Their yards, which swept to the base of the 17th Street Canal levee, kept filling with water. Then on Aug. 29, as Hurricane Katrina moved out of the area, that levee collapsed and tumbled into their homes, allowing Lake Pontchartrain and a world of misery to pour into the city. Now the residents of Bellaire Drive have questions.
"We called Sewerage & Water Board, and one of their guys tested the water and said it was coming from the canal," LeBlanc recalled. "They sent repair crews out. They tore up sidewalks and driveways. Things got better, but it never got dry.
"So I keep wondering why no one ever came out to ask about it. No one from the Corps of Engineers. No one from the Levee Board. Sewerage & Water Board never came back."
The corps wonders as well.
"If someone had told us there was lake water on the outside of that levee -- or any levee -- it would have been a red flag to us, and we would have been out there, without question," said Jerry Colletti, operations manager for completed works at the corps' New Orleans office.
"We have nothing on that, nothing at all. That's something we should have been told about."
Calypso Lou-eey, please call the mothership.
I smell construction-skimming.
You know what is priceless, is the way that these crazy libs can throw accusations around like that, getting folks all in a tither and then it gets dropped like a hot potato. No one is held to account for slandering the administration.
I mean, it's no surprise, but still.
Wait a minute...I thought Pres. Bush piloted a tanker into that levee
It seems to me that the real problem is that New Orleans is a stupid place to put a city.
LOL! Yep, that's a good analogy.
Good. I'm glad they did. Now can we just let this go?
ROTF at the picture!
I did it! I wanted ALL the poor welfare-riding black people in NOLA to DIE! < /extreme sarcasm>
And Bush accepted the blame anyway.
And here is some more stupid statements the democrats put out there..
It is reported that black hurricane victims in New Orleans have begun eating corpses to survive.
Four days after the storm, thousands of blacks in New Orleans are dying like dogs. No-one has come to help them.And this is so stupid anyone that believes this needs help bad..
The democrats are beyond reason now. It is beyond our imagining to know what they are going to do next and what they are prepared to do. There is only one comparison: Nazi Germany.
A question that has been forgotten in the chaos of MSM disinfo is whether the North winds over Lake Pontchartrain would have caused the requisite 11' surge, or was it the Gulf storm surge up the Channel?
In other words, would a surge dam have prevented this catastrophe or not?
Can any one answer this?
Gates closing off the canals that empty into the lake would certainly stop lake water from coming back into the canals and into the city. A HUGE storm surge could overtop even gates, but gates would help dramatically. It makes NO sense at all for canals, that allow more water INTO the populated areas, to exist. The area could be kept dry by pumping directly into the lake, that's where it ends up anyway. Then just beef up the lake levees.
As for the ' they bombed the 17th St. Canal fantasy... I live about 5 blocks from that levee, on the Jefferson parish side. My niece's Montessori school was on the same block of the break. I've been there personally. It's STILL leaking from beneath the levee base there! This is about INCOMPETENCE and geology.
There weren't just 3 levee breaks in N.O. , there were about 28! Little ones, leaks, fissures, bubbling up and seepage. They were concerned just last week when a cold front came through and strong North winds pushed lake water back into the canals! If we can't be safe from NORTH WIND, forget hurricanes! Erosion and incompetence have doomed New Orleans.
I'm not feeling safe in Jefferson Parish either, but at least our side of the canal levee is better maintained and checked by parish officials who actually get OUT of their cars and use instruments. Unlike Orleans parish Levee Board inspectors, who drive around eating.
South Central Bell ( a local telephone company in South Louisiana) needed to install new telephone poles out by Mamou, so they decide to give the contract to the contractors who can install them the fastest. They tell Acme Pole Installers to work all day installing poles on one side of the road, and a Cajun contractor by the name of Boudreaux to install them on the other side. At the end of the day, the SC Bell representative returns to check on their progress. He sees that Acme has installed 24 poles that day and is very impressed. He turns around and sees that Boudreaux has only installed 4. He asks him "Why are you being so slow? The other guys have done 24 already!" To which ole Boudreaux reponds, "Mais yeah dere much faster, but look how much dey left sticking outta de ground!"
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