This Day On The Street
Continue to site
ADVERTISEMENT
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here

AP IMPACT: Deficient Levees Found Across America

In interviews, some local managers disputed their "unacceptable" ratings, saying their levees were sound, if not perfect.

Bill Sheppard, assistant chief engineer for the Yazoo-Mississippi Delta Levee Board, noted that none of its levees failed during severe flooding in spring of 2011. "Our system works," he said. "Does it have components that need to be fixed after this flood? Absolutely. But if you look at the levee evaluation reports, you'd think, 'Oh Lord, run for the hills.'"

A number of local managers blame their "unacceptable" ratings on the Corps taking a harder line on compliance with levee construction, operation and maintenance standards.

"Since Katrina, they're almost hyper-vigilant," said John Sachi, city engineer for South St. Paul. "It's almost like they're remedying their mistakes from the past by putting the onus on us to make sure things get better."

Sachi said South St. Paul is spending $2.5 million to replace an outdated pumping station and correct other deficiencies.

The Corps' Halpin agreed that levees covered by the agency's safety program mostly held their own during some of the heaviest flooding on record in 2011, which caused an estimated $9 billion in damage. But that doesn't mean inspectors are overstating the system's flaws, Halpin said, noting that some communities escaped catastrophe only after heroic efforts to shore up levees more than half a century old.

"That is not acceptable performance," he said.

A number of local officials said they would happily upgrade their levees â¿¿ if they could afford it. "There is no money available. There's no way we could raise even a 25 percent match if they covered the rest of it," said Askew, Brookport's mayor.

A concrete floodwall about 10 feet high tops the section nearest the Brookport business district. Askew said the levee proved itself during the 2011 flood, when the town was mostly spared as the river swirled within a couple of feet of the top. The mayor figures the government should pay for about $2 million in upgrades.

4 of 5

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Action Alerts PLUS

Portfolio Manager Jim Cramer and Director of Research Jack Mohr reveal their investment tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
Quant Ratings

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
Stocks Under $10

David Peltier uncovers low dollar stocks with serious upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
14-Days Free
Only $9.95
14-Days Free
Submit an article to us!
SYM TRADE IT LAST %CHG

Markets

DOW 18,024.06 +183.54 1.03%
S&P 500 2,108.29 +22.78 1.09%
NASDAQ 5,005.3910 +63.9670 1.29%

Partners Compare Online Brokers

Free Reports

Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs