Friday, February 17, 2006

Reinventing The Wheel

The Corps of Engineers is looking for ways to protect New Orleans outflow canals from storm surge as well as maintaining a way for rain water to flow out into Lake Ponchartrain. Currently the Corps is in the process of building temporary sluice gates to prevent strom surge out of the canals.

The problem is that when the gates are closed during a storm, rain water has no way to escape.

when the gates are closed against surge — and especially during a rainy, slow-moving storm — there could be interior flooding because pumping capacity will be greatly diminished.

Although Pump Station 6 can move water at the rate of about 10,000 cubic feet per second, the gates will be equipped with only one-tenth of that pumping capacity by June 1. Later in the season, the corps hopes to have tripled that number with the addition of more temporary pumps.
Are these people blind? They need to take a ride a few miles west along the shore to the canals in Jefferson Parish. Unlike Orleans, Jefferson Parish's canals are not open to the lake, rather, they are dammed at the lake with a large pump station atop the levee like the one pictured above.

The main defference between the proposed Orleans canals and the Jefferson canals is that Orleans canals will be open to the lake except when storms approach. I can't understand why pumps wit the same cummulative capacty of the pumps that divert water the canals cannot be placed atop the levee to move water into the lake.

Keep in mind, there were no levee breaks in Jefferson Parish. Flooding only occured because;
  1. Flood waters from the 17th Street Canal spilled over into parts of Old Metairie.
  2. Parish President evacuated pump operators to Washington Parish forcing the shutdown of the pumps.
Another proposal for keeping storm surge out of the canals was proposed several years ago when the Corps wanted to install butterfly gates at the 17th Street Canal but the Orleans Levee Board opted for the more expensive to build but less costly to maintain higher floodwalls.

1 comment:

Tim said...

This is not the Corps' fault. The Corps of Engineers wanted to build new pump stations at the lake more than 40 years ago. Local property owners killed that plan. The Corps wanted to put gates at the lake 30 years ago. The Sewerage and Water Board killed that plan. The Corps then proposed gates that would open and close on their own depending on the direction of flow--outward flow, open gate; inward flow, closed gate. The Sewerage and Water Board also killed that plan. So now the Corps is putting quick and temporary gates at the lake with plans to build new pump stations at the lake if Congress and the President appropriate the money and if the local property owners and the S&WB will cooperate. Let's hope they do. The Times-Picayune has already given a lot of sentimental press to the owner of the destroyed Sid-Mar's restaurant, who is unhappy because the Corps is expropriating his land to fix the problem. It's for the greater good, but that doesn't mean it will happen in this town.