Friday, November 18, 2005

Before the levees burst

According to this story in yesterday's New Orleans Times-Picayune, it seems that there was a pretty good indication that all was not well with the levee system before Katrina blew into town. Over a year ago residents near the Canal levee complained that their yards were wet and not drying out. The Army Corps of Engineers never found out despite the fact that the residents reported the problem. The water was tested and it was from the Canal. That was pretty much the end of the issue.
But investigators on forensic engineering teams probing the failures said they aren'’t surprised the corps didn't know about that leak -- or about numerous other leaks and problems with the levees that residents reported to them. That ignorance reflects a minefield of twisted bureaucratic jurisdictions, poor levee maintenance, missed opportunities and suspect engineering they say likely contributed to the costliest natural disaster in American history.