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Billion-dollar flood protection system around New Orleans proves reliable

K1052

Lifer
Aug 21, 2003
38,034
12,908
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Didn't see much on this around. Other cities along the Gulf need similar protections but there will be no money to build them.


Billion-dollar flood protection system around New Orleans proves reliable

By Associated Press, Published: August 30

NEW ORLEANS — Seven years ago, the Army Corps of Engineers was desperately trying to plug breaches in the city’s broken and busted levee system.

Since those catastrophic days, the Army Corps has worked at breakneck speed — and at a cost of billions of dollars — to install new floodgates, pumps, floodwalls and levees across New Orleans. The work paid off. A day after Isaac hit New Orleans on the seventh anniversary of Katrina, officials said the 130-mile flood protection system did its job.

“If I had to give it a grade, I would give it an A-minus, and only a minus because of the small challenges we had,” said Tim Doody, the president of the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East, a commission that oversees levees protecting New Orleans.

The only problem came at the 17th Street Canal, the site of a breach during Katrina. When computers that are supposed to turn on pumps failed there Wednesday. Pump operators had to turn them on by hand, causing a delay of an hour or two, Doody said.

Getting the pumps to work is critical.

The 17th Street Canal is one of three major drainage canals the city pumps rain into and flushes out to Lake Pontchartrain. When Katrina hit, those drainage canals proved to be fatal as surge from the lake rushed into them and broke through poorly designed floodwalls. The breaches caused much of the flooding of the oldest sections of New Orleans.

To prevent that from happening again, the Army Corps installed new floodgates and pumps at the mouth of the drainage canals to block water from coming in. The corps’ pumps must also be able to keep up with the city’s pumps or water gets backed up.

Rachel Rodi, a corps spokeswoman, said having to turn pumps on by hand was not a big deal. “I wouldn’t say it was an issue,” she said.

A day earlier, a floodgate at another drainage canal, the Orleans Avenue Canal, had to be shut with a crane. That too was not serious, she said.

During Isaac, the corps used for the first time in the face of a hurricane some of the system’s biggest new structures.

It closed two large floodgates that cut off surge from entering the Inner Harbor Navigation Canal, a place long considered an Achilles’ heel in the city.

It also closed and operated a floodgate and pumping system on the West Bank, a suburban area of the city on the opposite side of the Mississippi River from the French Quarter.

Isaac brought storm surge that reached up to 14 feet in the area around the Inner Harbor Navigation Canal, just 2 to 3 feet shy of what Katrina pushed in.

“If that surge barrier had not been there, the story would have been a very different story,” Doody said.

The corps is not done with its work.

So far it has spent about $10 billion of the $14 billion Congress set aside. The corps plans to build bigger and stronger floodgates and pumping stations at the three drainage canals and armor the entire system with concrete.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/billion-dollar-flood-protection-system-around-new-orleans-proves-reliable/2012/08/30/d8aaff6c-f2e9-11e1-b74c-84ed55e0300b_story.html
 
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Texashiker

Lifer
Dec 18, 2010
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That billion dollars would have been better spent on bulldozers.

Level new orleans, destroy the levies, and let nature take its course.
 

spacejamz

Lifer
Mar 31, 2003
10,476
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are some of the outlying parishes pissed off at New Orleans because the excess water got diverted to them because of these levees?
 

K1052

Lifer
Aug 21, 2003
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are some of the outlying parishes pissed off at New Orleans because the excess water got diverted to them because of these levees?
The Corps is going to study if that did or did not happen.

The next big thing will be coastline restoration.
 

tydas

Golden Member
Mar 10, 2000
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0
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That way we do not have to keep fixing stuff.

Who in their right mind builds something below sea level anyway?
Jeez, simple..because we can...

If people like you were in charge we would still be scratching sticks together...
 

EagleKeeper

Discussion Club Moderator<br>Elite Member
Staff member
Oct 30, 2000
42,591
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The Corps is going to study if that did or did not happen.

The next big thing will be coastline restoration.
The pumped water had to have gone somewhere; there were no holding tanks.
 

K1052

Lifer
Aug 21, 2003
38,034
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The pumped water had to have gone somewhere; there were no holding tanks.
They got flooded because a levee over topped, it was only 8ft and storm surge was anticipated 9-12ft. There is a question of if the new defenses increased the storm surge for adjacent areas but they need to run the numbers to figure out if that was the case or not.
 

EagleKeeper

Discussion Club Moderator<br>Elite Member
Staff member
Oct 30, 2000
42,591
5
0
Inbound water has to go somewhere. If not into the area being blocked off; it disperses to the easiest routes.

Any water that was pumped has to go somewhere.

It is great that they think they have NOLA protected; now the rest of the area needs protection from the NOLA protection plan.
 

Texashiker

Lifer
Dec 18, 2010
18,811
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It is great that they think they have NOLA protected; now the rest of the area needs protection from the NOLA protection plan.
And then what? Build a barrier wall around the entire gulf coast?

If your house is 2 feet above sea level, why should the government spend billions to protect those communities?

My parents house was 4 feet above sea level. After flooding 4 times, FEMA bought their house, demolished it, and my parents moved to higher ground.
 

Lemon law

Lifer
Nov 6, 2005
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Its my understanding that New Orleons was orginally basically a little above sea level. The problem is that meanwhile so much fresh water under the city itself has been pumped up for drinking water, the city of New Orleans has dropped below sea level.
 

dainthomas

Lifer
Dec 7, 2004
13,934
2,247
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And then what? Build a barrier wall around the entire gulf coast?

If your house is 2 feet above sea level, why should the government spend billions to protect those communities?

My parents house was 4 feet above sea level. After flooding 4 times, FEMA bought their house, demolished it, and my parents moved to higher ground.
One house != an entire city

Not to mention the cost of upgrading the flood control structures was probably cheaper than relocating the city.
 

Texashiker

Lifer
Dec 18, 2010
18,811
193
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One house != an entire city

Not to mention the cost of upgrading the flood control structures was probably cheaper than relocating the city.
People know they bought a house in a flood zone, but for some reason they deserve special treatment?

Do people in tornado alley get free underground shelters?

Do people that live in Arizona or New Mexico get free air conditioning?

A community is built a few feet above sea level. Buy flood insurance and deal with it.
 

EagleKeeper

Discussion Club Moderator<br>Elite Member
Staff member
Oct 30, 2000
42,591
5
0
Its my understanding that New Orleons was orginally basically a little above sea level. The problem is that meanwhile so much fresh water under the city itself has been pumped up for drinking water, the city of New Orleans has dropped below sea level.
I have read that originally only the main area around the French quarter was on "high ground"/dry land
 

JEDIYoda

Lifer
Jul 13, 2005
33,835
3,214
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Its my understanding that New Orleons was orginally basically a little above sea level. The problem is that meanwhile so much fresh water under the city itself has been pumped up for drinking water, the city of New Orleans has dropped below sea level.
At least you can`t blame Netayahu......
 

dainthomas

Lifer
Dec 7, 2004
13,934
2,247
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People know they bought a house in a flood zone, but for some reason they deserve special treatment?

Do people in tornado alley get free underground shelters?

Do people that live in Arizona or New Mexico get free air conditioning?

A community is built a few feet above sea level. Buy flood insurance and deal with it.
So you'd be okay with the govenment spending more money to move everything than they did on the upgrades, just so some guy on the internet wouldn't think they were getting "special treatment"?

Sometimes the most cost-effective and practical solutions involve actions that differ from your political philosophy or sense of "fairness". Deal with it.
 

Texashiker

Lifer
Dec 18, 2010
18,811
193
106
So you'd be okay with the govenment spending more money to move everything than they did on the upgrades, just so some guy on the internet wouldn't think they were getting "special treatment"?

Sometimes the most cost-effective and practical solutions involve actions that differ from your political philosophy or sense of "fairness". Deal with it.
Why would the government have to pay for jack?

If people do not like getting flooded, move.

When FEMA bought out my mom and dad, they were not forced to take the buyout.

But on the flipside, after three floods, the flood insurance would have been something like $1,200 a month.
 

K1052

Lifer
Aug 21, 2003
38,034
12,908
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Inbound water has to go somewhere. If not into the area being blocked off; it disperses to the easiest routes.

Any water that was pumped has to go somewhere.

It is great that they think they have NOLA protected; now the rest of the area needs protection from the NOLA protection plan.
Regardless the existing levee was under the storm surge prediction. NOLA defenses might have made the flooding worse but I'd want to see the study to confirm that.

It is my understanding that additional protection for adjacent communities was approved but not funded by Congress. It is possible the Deepwater Horizon settlement will provide that funding however that remains to be seen since it must be split between the affected states. Otherwise Congress will have to appropriate additional funds to the Corps if these projects are to be completed.
 

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