Tuesday, November 01, 2005

More bureaucratic snafus discovered. Contractor had no obligation to build safe levee.

CNN ran the following exchange this morning.

Joining me to talk a little bit about this, as we sort of analyze forensically what happened is, Herbert Roussel with Roussel Engineering. He was involved in doing consulting work on this project when it was built in the '60s. And at that time, you were among the people who said that the wall was not deep enough down. Explain what your concern was.

HERBERT ROUSSEL, FLOODWALL EXPERT: About 20 feet below the surface, there's a peat layer, which is organic material which is about five foot thick. The sheet piling stopped right above that. Actually, in my opinion, it should have gone through it into the bed of soil below.

M. O'BRIEN: And you gave the Corps of Engineers your opinion at that time. You have a doctorate in engineering. You know a lot about this. What did they do when you said you got to go deeper?

ROUSSEL: At the time, the sheet pile was already driven, we couldn't do anything about it because Pittman (ph) was only hired to build the concrete wall on top.

M. O'BRIEN: That's the construction company you were working with at the time. So they were -- so basically that wall, when you built it, you felt it didn't have a proper footing.

ROUSSEL: It should have been deeper.

M. O'BRIEN: And because it had been done at the time, they just said we got to press on.

ROUSSEL: Well, that's what -- Pittman wasn't hired to do anything other than the concrete.

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