Tags: New Orleans | Katrina | Lee | flood

New Orleans Flood Protection Holds Well vs. Lee

Monday, 05 Sep 2011 08:56 AM


NEW ORLEANS — New post-Katrina flood protection systems in New Orleans and surrounding areas were performing "very well" Sunday, in what officials said was the first true test since the devastating 2005 hurricane.

Heavy rains and tidal surges from Tropical Storm Lee gave the Army Corps of Engineers a chance to test the full capabilities of crucial new pieces of the system rebuilt after tidal surges during Hurricane Katrina broke through floodwalls along two canals, with catastrophic results.

The Corps closed a massive flood gate and activated an associated pumping system at the London Avenue Canal on Lake Pontchartrain late Friday afternoon.

The London Avenue Canal is one of three outflow canals that move rainwater runoff out of the city and into the lake. As soon as rain begins to accumulate, the New Orleans Sewerage & Water Board activates pumps that push the water outward.

But when tidal surge from the Gulf of Mexico pushes up the lake water level, the surge can force lake water into the canals, which is what happened after Hurricane Katrina.

During that storm, the force of the water into the canals from the lake was so strong that it broke the floodwalls.

The Corps spent billions of dollars rebuilding floodwalls and installing massive flood gates and pumping systems at the London Avenue, Orleans Avenue and 17th Street canals.

Chris Accardo, chief of the operations division in the Corps' New Orleans district, said the London Avenue floodgate was lowered to block the lake surge on Friday when the lake reached a "trigger" level of 2.5 feet and rising.

The new pumps were then activated to move water from the canal through pipes, around the floodgates and into the lake.

"We ran all 20 pumps at one time at 100 percent," Accardo said.

The downpours of Saturday morning combined with the tidal surge pushed the structure to its full capacity, moving 5,200 cubic feet of water per second.

"It was the first time we had a chance to do that. This tropical storm tested our pumping ability at London more than any of the previous hurricanes" since Katrina, Accardo said.

On Saturday, the Corps also closed a massive new floodgate and activated pumps on the Harvey Canal, a wide industrial canal that links into the Mississippi River on the river's West Bank in Jefferson Parish.

Accardo said that structure also operated well.

"It takes a great deal of communication and coordination with Jefferson Parish, the Sewerage & Water Board and the Mayor to do all this, and it's much more of a partnership today than it was before Katrina," he said. "Today, everybody is watching everybody else's back."

As to when the Corps will sound the "all clear" and reopen the flood gates, Accardo couldn't say for sure.

"I'm thinking it will be sometime between Monday and Wednesday," he said.

© 2015 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
Zip Code:
Privacy: We never share your email.
Hot Topics
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
Top Stories
You May Also Like

FBI Probes Powdery Substance Mailed to Franklin Graham Charity

Friday, 30 Jan 2015 22:56 PM

The FBI Friday said it was investigating a letter containing a white powdery substance that was mailed to the headquarte . . .

Report: FBI Had Secret Cold War Plan for Martial Law

Friday, 30 Jan 2015 22:45 PM

The FBI reportedly came up with a top-secret, though short-lived, plan for preserving national security in case of a nuc . . .

Americans Love Lower Gas Prices, but They're Pocketing Savings

Friday, 30 Jan 2015 22:26 PM

Americans are saving about $60 a month from lower gas prices - but they're not spending much of it. The Wall Street Jour . . .

Most Commented

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved