Saturday, October 08, 2005

Levee failure caused by poor soil. Bad design?

A layer of soft, peaty soil about 25 feet below the base of the levee wall along the 17th Street Canal may have contributed to a breach that flooded much of New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina, a team of engineers said Friday.

Robert Bea, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at the University of California-Berkeley and a New Orleans native, said that the shifting of 35 feet of soil in the area of the breach was the result of the force of water on the wall overwhelming the ability of sheet piling beneath it to stay in place, which may have been the fault of the layer of peaty soil.
The evidence is piling up for either faulty design or poor construction.

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