Army Corps monitors Dorian as it works with Orleans officials on drainage crisis

Army Corps monitors Dorian as it works with Orleans officials on drainage crisis

NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - The Army Corps of Engineers says as it monitors Hurricane Dorian, it continues to work with the sewerage and water board on a plan to try and ease the city’s drainage crisis.

The corps isn’t ruling out the possibility that a high water table caused by an exceedingly high river may have contributed to recent floods.

In July and August heavy rains brought flooding to parts of the CBD and Uptown where many say it never flooded before

“This is the worst I’ve ever seen it,” said resident Desire Hebert.

Those flooding events occurred while the soil around the Mississippi River was so saturated that the Corps had a ban on construction in place within 1,500 feet of the river until three weeks ago. The fear was that the river embankment could be compromised, and the levee system placed in jeopardy.

“No doubt with the river high, the water table is up,” said Mark Wingate, the Deputy director of the New Orleans district of the Army Corps of Engineers.

As it works with the Sewerage and Water board to address the drainage crisis, the Corps is not ruling out the possibility that a high river and saturated land nearby may have contributed to recent urban flooding.

“How much that contributed to the recent flooding I couldn’t speculate, but it is a joint effort with the Corps and the Sewerage and Water board to consider that in this two week assessment,” said Wingate.

As the Corps continues to work with the Sewerage and Water board on a plan to try and mitigate the ongoing drainage crisis, it’s keeping an eye on Hurricane Dorian.

“We are watching it corporately throughout the nation. It could hit hard in Jacksonville and we are prepared,” said Wingate.

The river has gone down, and if Dorian were to threaten this area, the fear of river overtopping levees has subsided.

“We are thankful the river is not around elevation 17 as it was for Barry. Today it is much lower. It’s around an elevation six,” said Wingate.

The Corps’ deputy director says no one wants a hurricane, but he says if our area is threatened, his agency is prepared to respond.

The Corps said Thursday that it’s seen no evidence that newly completed SELA projects contributed to any of the recent floods.

SELA stands for Southeast Louisiana Urban Flood Control. It is a $2 billion Corps program dealing with interior drainage issues in the Metro New Orleans area.

Copyright 2019 WVUE. All rights reserved.