New way to plug levy breeches - - Jackson, MS

Vicksburg, MS December 15, 2010

New way to plug levy breeches

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By Marsha Thompson - bio | email

A new highly sophisticated method of controlling levee breaches was unveiled Wednesday in Vicksburg. The idea is to mitigate flooding quickly and save lives.

It was the first ever full-scale demonstration simulating a 40-feet levee breach and how to control it. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineer Research and Development Center demonstrated a full-scale prototype. The idea is to transport it to a breach quickly by copter or barge and get it in place to plug the breach. According to Wil Laska, 4th program manager for Homeland Security, Science and Technology, "The whole purpose behind this project was to come up with a way to reduce the damage caused by flooding by levee breaches. Not only damage to buildings but loss of lives."

Something of this nature might have helped prevent the devastating flooding parts of New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina. "If we were to have sealed the breech on the 17th Street Canal during Katrina, as it went through there by 1:00 in the afternoon, we could have saved over a billion dollars of damage."

The demonstration was held at the new 11-acre, four-million gallon levee breach experiment facility at ERDC's installation in Vicksburg which is the largest facility in the world..

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