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Friday, October 16, 2009

NorthWest Carrollton concerned about "improvements"

See my sarcastic and pointed remarks embedded in the article below.

We have every right to be worried and to expect better from the Corps and from Sewerage and Water Board. Building these SELA projects and not solving the Monticello Canal is like the little Dutch Boy with his finger in the dike. It's NOT enough.

Hollygrove residents concerned flooding improvements in rest of N.O. will hurt them
10:39 PM CDT on Friday, October 16, 2009

Katie Moore / Eyewitness News

NEW ORLEANS - The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the New Orleans Sewerage and Water Board are getting ready to start a more than $100 million drainage project to help with Uptown street flooding.

Video: Watch the Story But some residents are concerned it could lead to more flooding along the Monticello Canal, the drainage basin on the Orleans/Jefferson Parish line.

Shirley Butler has lived in her Hollygrove home her entire life, but something is making her hotter than her Tabasco peppers.

“We're flooding back here trying to save other parts of New Orleans, but other parts of New Orleans are still flooding,” Butler said.

The Monticello Canal runs along side Butler's house.

But last Monday, when Mother Nature dropped more than three inches of rain, Butler said, “Where there was no partition at, the water was coming into the street.”

“There was some street flooding, in the Hollygove area, in the Monticello Canal area, but I haven't heard anything about vehicle damage or residential damage or anything like that,” said Joseph Becker, General Superintendent of the Sewerage and Water Board.

Oh and that must make it OK? Mr. Becker, it's NOT OK.

Most of Uptown's storm water flows into the Monticello Canal.

The Sewerage and Water Board and the Corps of Engineers are getting ready to build three new underground canals - along Claiborne, Jefferson and Napoleon Avenues - to bring water from Uptown to the Monticello Canal faster.

More water, going into the canal faster and we're not supposed to worry. Right. Tell me again how to put my head in the sand.

It's about a $120 million project that's expected to go out to bid in phases starting next year.

“The same water that flows into the Monticello Canal now will flow into the Monticello Canal after these additional drainage projects are completed,” Becker said.

Except it will be more water... and it will be flowing MUCH faster. But don't worry.

It will flow faster, and according to Becker, their modeling shows it'll only increase the canal's water level a foot. But Butler says even the current conditions are putting water past her pepper plant in her front yard.

Just a foot... IN THE MODEL! THAT'S and based on data that is 30 YEARS OLD.

The modeling that we have done in the past, and this was based on data that was done in the '80's, because this was an old report, indicated that for the ten-year storm, which is what we typically design for, indicated that it wouldn't be a problem with the water going into the canal with our new work in place,” said Stan Green, Senior Project Manager for all Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Projects through the Corps of Engineers.

Folks we don't need a MODEL. Try doing some experiments with a hose in your backyard. Watch the water drain nicely at a trickle then turn the water on faster and see how quickly things can get out of control.

One thing that also concerns residents is the flood wall on the Jefferson Parish side of the canal. It may be old and decaying, but there's no flood wall on the Orleans side.
“We have some new little three feet partitions up, which, there's no blockage if the water wanna come through. It was just thrown up there a couple of months ago,” Butler said.

“The Monticello Canal was designed to be below street level and not become a factor above ground,” Becker said.

Both Becker and the Corps admit there's another problem with the canal. Culverts that run underneath Airline Highway and a railroad crossing are more narrow than the canal itself.

Really, finally, is that admiting to a "single" problem? So we are RIGHT TO BE WORRIED!!!!! Wow! Let me see if I have this right.
More water, faster, into a canal not designed to ever have water "above street level"
that already gets water above street level when it rains hard,
with a wall on the Jefferson Parish side
and zip, nada, NOTHING on the Orleans Parish side,
that flows into the 17th Street Canal and meets up with all the water from the Palmetto Canal
and all this is a part of the flow that will be blocked by when the gates at the lake are down
and what S&W and the Corps of Engineers are most worried about are the narrow culverts at Airline and the tracks.

How does the model take all those factors into account? Betcha it doesn't.

The concrete box that goes underneath Airline is smaller than the Monticello Canal. So that represents a little bit of a restriction in flow,” Becker continued that the Sewerage and Water Board are talking to the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development, the agency that owns the two structures, to see if the culverts can be expanded.

And if they can't be expanded... will the SELA projects that funnel MORE water into the Monticello Canal FASTER go ahead anyway?

The Sewerage and Water Board appears ready to move forward with the project next year, with designers already working out the details.

Yep... looks like its full steam ahead. On August 29th and 30th I stood on my front porch and watched the water flow from the Monticello Canal toward Broadmoor and the rest of Carrollton and on to Tulane University and the rest of Uptown. How smart are we to take water from the locations closer to the river, push it into the Monticello Canal even faster than before, have it back up because it can't fit through those smaller culverts under Airline,and/or have it backup from Palmetto and the 17th Street Canal when the Flood Gates at the Lake are closed? It's GENIUS! Have we learned NOTHING?

But both Butler and many others are still bothered by the project.

“Nothing has been done to the canal,” Butler said.

The University of New Orleans is also conducting an outside study on the impact the projects will have on the canal.

Thank Goodness.... maybe they will listen to UNO.

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