Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Shoddy Levee Construction

The local CBS affiliate has uncovered a bit of shoddy workmanship on levee walls protecting St. Bernard Parish. The contractor used newspaper as a filler in the gap between the water stop in the levee wall and the caulk used to seal the seam between the concrete sections. The Corps of Engineers maintains that this is acceptable even though it violates the their own specification. The filler is supposed to be sponge rubber.

This is just another example of the axiom, "You get what you inspect, not what you expect."

As an engineer with 30 years in the offshore industry, I've had to make temporary repairs. But you are always aware that what you did is temporary and at the same time you make plans to make it permanent at the first opportunity. And you make it known to management that the fix is not permanent. The Corps did none of that. This defect was going to sit there for the next 50 years, unseen and unknown, until the levee fails again in the next major storm to hit the area.

I hope there is a special place being saved in Hell for employees and contractors of the Corps of Engineers.

For the story, with video, go here.

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