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Corps Is Fortifying Its Levee Repairs

Investigators had questioned the strength of Army engineers' work in New Orleans.

October 20, 2005|Ralph Vartabedian | Times Staff Writer

The Army Corps of Engineers said Wednesday it was strengthening its repairs to levees in New Orleans, after investigators questioned how well the emergency patches made after Hurricane Katrina would hold.

Investigators for the National Science Foundation sent an eight-page critique of the corps' work early this month, saying that some of the repairs lacked adequate strength and were actually leaking water through materials used to plug breaches.

On Wednesday, corps officials issued a public statement saying they were "committed to providing the safest and strongest emergency repairs possible for the floodwall breaches" in New Orleans.

Without mentioning the criticism, the corps said it was controlling water levels to reduce pressure on canal walls and increasing the width of breach repairs.

Separately, it was announced Wednesday that the National Research Council would begin yet another investigation into the levee failures, the fourth such probe since the flooding of New Orleans that claimed hundreds of lives.

The corps asked for the new investigation, which apparently stops well short of calls for the White House to appoint an independent board empowered to conduct a full-scale technical investigation and issue formal recommendations.

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