Army Corps sinks pipe to build underwater sill - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

Army Corps sinks pipe to build underwater sill

Updated:
Men on a barge in Mississippi work to connect pipe used to build an underwater sill. Men on a barge in Mississippi work to connect pipe used to build an underwater sill.

Jesuit Bend, La.—Work crews submerged nearly a mile of pipe Thursday morning as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers prepares to build a barrier to fight salt water creeping up the Mississippi River.

The Great Lakes Dredging Company should begin pumping mud from the river bottom to a spot down river sometime this evening, according a Corps spokesperson.

The $8.1 sill, or what the Corps describes as an "underwater levee," is designed to stop a wedge of salt water.

The leading toe of the salt water reached the Algiers river bend area earlier this week. A natural sill in the river prevents it from moving farther north. However, 15 miles south of Belle Chasse, salinity levels have risen among the EPA recommended levels for people on low-salt diets, according to Corps spokesmen.

Engineers expect the sill to take about six weeks to build. However, they expect to start seeing lower salinity levels with a couple of weeks.

The severe drought gripping much of the country has dramatically reduced the river's flow, allowing salt intrude upriver.

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