Levees Across America Are Deficient

Inspectors find failing flood control systems from coast to coast.

Posted: 01/17/2013 10:25 AM EST
Levees Across America Are Deficient

Many will never forget the devastation that Hurricane Katrina caused the Gulf Coast in 2005. But, if a storm of that level was to hit a coastal area of America again, flood control systems that are supposed to protect people would fail.

Inspectors found that hundreds of structures overseen by the federal government, from Sacramento, California, to Washington, D.C., "are at risk of failing and endangering people and property in 37 states." The Associated Press reports:

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has yet to issue ratings for a little more than 40 percent of the 2,487 structures, which protect about 10 million people. Of those it has rated, however, 326 levees covering more than 2,000 miles were found in urgent need of repair.

The problems are myriad: earthen walls weakened by trees, shrubs and burrowing animal holes; houses built dangerously close to or even on top of levees; decayed pipes and pumping stations.

The Associated Press requested, under the Freedom of Information Act, details on why certain levees were judged unacceptable and how many people would be affected in a flood. The Corps declined on grounds that such information could heighten risks of terrorism and sabotage.

Read the full story here.

 

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(Photo:  AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

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