Fix the pumps

Thursday, September 14, 2006

One more post about documents

There is one more document that was not easily obtained, but which every citizen in New Orleans who lives west of the Industrial Canal should read. It is the Operating Manual for the Floodgates. It includes all the criteria for closure - and opening - of the gates, as well as technical details on the entire system.

It is not an easy document to read. It is filled with jargon, has very few paragraph or page breaks, and is sometimes contradictory. It only has a single diagram and no pictures. It also makes mention of another document meant as a companion - the Water Control Plan. The Water Control Plan apparently lays out the exact timing and scope of shutdown and startup of permanent pumps in Jefferson and Orleans Parishes. I have made a Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA) request for the Water Control Plan, which I know is complete, but the Corps did not respond within twenty days, as their regulations say they must. So I added that request to the pile that is currently included in my Federal FOIA lawsuit against the Corps.

Despite all that, the Operating Manual is key to understanding what to do if a tropical storm approaches. By reading the Manual, you will understand the Corps' thinking. And when considered in light of the inundation maps released by the Corps July 26th, which show the effects of gate closure on the neighborhoods of New Orleans and Metairie, you can plan accordingly. If you have web access as the storm approaches, you can watch the 17th Street floodgates and the London Avenue floodgates on WWL-TV's website. Unfortunately, there is no camera for Orleans Avenue.


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