Floodwalls stuffed with…newspapers?

( – 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.

Yes, 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.

Thanks, Kevin!

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.


Skip to comment form

    • theblaz on August 31, 2008 at 6:35 pm

    Here’s for hoping.

  1. If you’d like to read a more in-depth examination of the levees, one of the best bloggers on the subject, Matt McBride, wrote a diary on this back in June:

    I wouldn’t trust the Army Corps of Engineers as far as I could throw them.

    • Edger on August 31, 2008 at 8:12 pm

    More videos…

    • pico on August 31, 2008 at 10:11 pm

    my grandmother tells me that, when they first moved to St. Bernard, the levee inspector was blind.  Not a joke, sadly.  He was related to someone sitting on the city council, etc.

    I was born and raised in St. Bernard Parish.  This kind of news is making me very not happy.

    • Temmoku on September 1, 2008 at 5:59 am

    of hiring your own people.

    I heard that “Blackwater” is getting all ready for a reprise of their “humanitarian” efforts at saving people’s lives in NO. It ought to be good. Seems that the company contracted to replace the pumps didn’t do such a topnotch job either…looks like they failed their test.

  2. Bush, et al. had long, long been warned by scientists about the levees and their disrepair and the devastating results of a level 4 or 5 hurricane.  So, what did Bush do from the get go of his office, why he cut back on the monies allocated or designated for the repairs to those levees and cutback on them continuously and still does.  So, newspapers being stuffed into the levees by FEMA does not surprise me in the least — any make-shift ole’ thing will do, BECAUSE THEY DIDN’T CARE IN THE FIRST PLACE AND THEY DON’T CARE NOW!

    I’m having a hard time right now trying to reconcile the fact that this is the third anniversary of Katrina just two days ago, and now, they are threatened with yet another devastating hurricane — just prior to elections?  Is this REALLY a coincidence?  Haven’t they always had something BIG happen just prior to something of importance that was to happen?  

    I don’t want to go into too much, but do any of you know about weather control?  

    Weather control, as well as “weather tampering”, is expressly forbidden dating from at least December 10, 1976, when the “United Nations General Assembly Resolution 31/72, TIAS 9614 Convention on the Prohibition of Military or Any Other Hostile Use of Environmental Modification Techniques” was adopted.

    The Convention was: Signed in Geneva May 18, 1977; Entered into force October 5, 1978; Ratification by U.S. President December 13, 1979; U.S. ratification deposited at New York January 17, 1980. . . .

    O.K., our government made modifications in 2005, but I’m skeptical of any so-called modifications made by this government, because any “changes” made by BushCo have usually been the reverse of its so-called intent — as I think we should all know by now.

    . . . . Expressed need for weather modification

    In a November 10, 2005, press release, prior to the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee’s November 17, 2005, vote to approve S. 517: Weather Modification Research and Technology Transfer Authorization Act of 2005: A bill to establish a Weather Modification Operations and Research Board, and for other purposes, introduced March 3, 2005, by Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas), Hutchison said “It is critical that we assess and evaluate the efficacy of weather modification research to the extent that lives are saved and property damage is limited … This work is vital, especially as we near the end of such a devastating hurricane season.”

    “The bill would create a Weather Modification Subcommittee within the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and would gather outside experts on a board to advise the subcommittee to expand the scientific understanding of modifying the weather.” [1]

    Referring to Hurricane Rita and Hurricane Katrina, as well as “recent tornados and violent storms in the Midwest,” Hutchison said that “By developing sustained research we can provide answers to the issues of predictability and reliability of weather modification research.” [2]

    When introduced, the bill was read twice and referred to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. The bill stated that the act was to take effect October 1, 2005. [3] Following the Committee’s November 17, 2005, vote to approve the bill, it was sent forward to the full Senate for its consideration. [4] . . . .

    There is much more!

    I’m sorry, but these “strange” coincidences over the past near eight years now leave me totally skeptical.  Everytime this Adm. conceived itself in “trouble” it “invented and caused” something to happen as distraction.  Distraction has been the name of the game right down the line.

    Tonight, I caught a glimpse of the GOP convention, just as McCain’s “chosen” came on.  This woman is a pathological liar — fits right in with the whole Repug thinking.  She spoke of “government free of corruption.”  I’m sorry, I practically puked.  But what puked me more was the way McCain and she, Palin, went on about the hurricane and the readiness, etc. made me even more vomitous.  It does, in fact, feel like this whole GD thing is yet another staging of the Repugs!  The timing, everything.  

    Sorry to have gone on so, but I am just about ready to throw up!  When you have “MORAL DECAY” like this running a country, what else can you feel?  

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