Fix the pumps

Thursday, September 14, 2006

More about documents

There is also a PIR for the floodgates at the mouths of the three outfall canals - 17th Street, London Ave, and Orleans Ave. It was issued in January, even before the Corps officially received the money to complete the projects described inside it (the Orleans Parish Pump Stations PIR was issued four months after passage and signing of the Third Katrina Supplemental). It lays out a scope of work that - among other things - includes $29 million for "bank stabilization" contracts along all three canals. This work was never mentioned again, despite what would seem to be a rather urgent need from the verbiage in the document. For example, this is what that report said about London Avenue:

"London Avenue Canal The length of paralllel protection in need of repair is 18,300 linear feet. Seepage analyses indicate a need for relief wells and/or seepage berms from a distance 3,700 feet north of Pumping Station No. 3 to the Robert E. Lee Bridge on the west side of the canal and to the Leon C. Simon Bridge on the east side of the canal. Above the Leon C. Simon Bridge seepage analyses indicated the need for a slurry trench with clay cap tie-in for the existing levee. Not included in the above numbers are the repairs at the two breaches and the repair of the translated wall on the east side of the canal south of the Robert E. Lee Bridge."

This is of interest because of what the Corps is now saying about the London Avenue canal:

"The appropriate water level at London Avenue Canal is still being re-evaluated, but it could drop a bit below its current 5-foot mark, said Walter Baumy, the corps' chief engineer in New Orleans. "'We've done a lot of additional borings and independent analyses, and we suspect that it could go lower. We'll make a decision by the time it has to be made,' he said. 'And if it does go lower, we're looking at how to mitigate that.'"Although most public attention since Katrina has focused on the 17th Street Canal, Baumy said protecting the London canal from surge is more problematic because sand layers are closer to the surface there and seepage -- with potentially catastrophic results -- is a threat."

On WLAE's Road to Recovery last Thursday, Col. Wagenaar, head of the Corps' New Orleans District, said those mitigation measures could include reinforcement of the walls or covering the entire inside of the earthen canal with concrete.


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