( – promoted by buhdydharma )
Please take a break from the psychosis-induced Palin Fever sweeping the blogosphere and take a peek at something that should worry and infuriate you.
St. Bernard Parish (an administrative division involving several counties) lies southeast of New Orleans, a troubling location as far as hurricanes are concerned.
Apparently, a couple of years ago, a St. Bernard Parish resident witnessed a contractor (hired by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers) stuffing a floodwall with newspapers.
“It’s like putting a Band-Aid on the hole of a gas tank of an airplane,” the resident said.
Instead of an airplane, it’s a floodwall, and instead of a Band-Aid, the witness says two years ago, he saw the contractor filling the expansion joint or opening between the floodwalls with newspaper.
The contractor blamed Congress for not sending enough money, of course, and after being contacted, they stood by their work:
“If you look at the repairs we made to the joints, there’s not really a safety issue with the joints at all,” said Kevin Wagner with the Army Corps of Engineers.
Wait… uh oh….
…another Corps employee e-mailed the Corps’ standards for expansion joint construction and in that e-mail, the Corps employee describes the specific materials needed as “sponge rubber” that goes next to the waterstop. That’s the same spot where a witness saw a contractor stuffing newspaper back in 2006.
Apparently, they claim that if they were going to make a whole, brand new floodwall, they’d have used the right materials, but since this was a quick patch job to get ready for hurricane season, they opted to use the water-repelling goodness that is newspapers.
Unfortunately, it appears the contract has other things to say:
The contract calls for Ercon Corporation, based in Lafayette, Louisiana, to do the almost $2 million of work to raise and repair the floodwall under the Paris Road bridge.
In the contract, WWL found at least four mentions of field molded sealants. [Subhash] Kulkarni [member of the American Society of Civil Engineers] says that is the sponge rubber material to fill the cavity in the expansion joint. And he says the contract shows the rubber material was contractually required to be installed.
St. Bernard Parish president Craig Taffaro granted that the newspaper “doesn’t define the entire levee system.”
“It’s an indictment against the quality of work being done,” Taffaro says. “Let’s hope that same standard wasn’t being used in constructing the floodwall in constructing the levees.”
Maybe it’s just me, but I’m really tired of having to RELY on “hoping for the best” with this fucking President.