Concern for canal flood wall seepage, SELA makes motion to encourage construction

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Water almost constantly seeps from 17th street canal floodwall, threatening the Lakeview families living there. The Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority's made moves on a plan to fortify the area around the canal.

People living in this neighborhood know the water level in the canal sits above their heads. So when they see this water seeping from the canal, it's something they hope is fixed soon.

Every time it rains, Courtney Smith reviews the emergency plan with her family.

"Something unexpected happened in the past, so at this point, I don't think anyone knows exactly what could happen," Smith said.
The 17th Street Canal floodwall which breached during Hurricane Katrina is right across from her home and to see weak spots in the wall, she worries for the worst.

"How much pressure can that wall take when you have mud when you have something that's supposed to be solid and it's not it's water," Smith said.

Surveyors told the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority two things needed to be done to help remedy the seeping water: construction to put two to three feet of clay over the eight lots with wet land, and to build a trench near the floodwall.

The SELA made a motion in their board meeting today to encourage the corps of engineers to give very serious consideration to the installation of the trench drainage.

Derek Boese with SELA says in making that motion today, it's a strong message to the corps to build the trench.

"We are all in agreement they're going to cover the property with some level of clay up to 2 feet of clay that is appropriate and recommended by the experts we believe in addition to that there should also be a trench to manage the water the corps has not agreed to do that yet," said Boese.

The Army Corps of Engineers still has control over the land. SELA Flood Protection Authority wants them to fix the seepage problem before they take back control over the land. There is no timeline when that could happen, but for Smith it can't come soon enough.

Boese says they do not know the design of the trench yet, but it would connect to the stormwater drainage system.