For Immediate Release: March 18, 2009
Contact: Chris Macaluso
CPRA Adopts Resolution Demanding Corps Fully Examines All Outfall Canal Options
BATON ROUGE -- The Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority adopted a resolution at its meeting Wednesday demanding that the Corps of Engineers fully and fairly examines all possible alternatives for protecting and pumping water from New Orleans and Jefferson Parish outfall drainage canals leading to Lake Pontchartrain.
The 17th Street, London Avenue and Orleans Avenue canals are currently protected and drained by barriers and pumps located on canal mouths at Lake Pontchartrain. Those pumps and barriers were built in an expedited manner and only intended to serve as a temporary solution for five-10 years while permanent pumps and barriers were designed and installed.
The CPRA commended the Corps for building the temporary barriers and installing the pumps quickly in the wake of Katrina.
"The failure of floodwalls along those canals led to catastrophic flooding, damage and loss of life in Orleans Parish and parts of Jefferson Parish during Hurricane Katrina," said CPRA Chairman Garret Graves. "A full examination and the building of the best possible options to protect New Orleans and Jefferson Parish from that happening again is the only acceptable solution."
Corps officials have said they plan to build new pump stations at the mouths of the canals that have to be synchronized to pump water out of canals and into the lake after it has been pumped in by parish drainage pumps. Water must be removed from the canals before levels exceed those deemed safe by the Corps and potentially threaten floodwalls. That plan is known as "Option 1."
Parish drainage and levee board officials and members of the CPRA have asked the Corps to examine two other solutions they believe are better, safer options. Called "Option 2" and "Option 2A," they include the deepening and armoring of the canals and the construction of a single pump station for each, eliminating the need to synchronize interior and exterior drainage pumps. Option 2A also includes a plan to pump some rain water from Jefferson Parish to the Mississippi River, further reducing the strain on the capacity of outfall canals leading to Lake Pontchartrain.
According to the resolution, "the CPRA's position is that before a proper solution for permanent protection features on the outfall canals is chosen for the outfall canals an accurate, peer-reviewed comparison of options be performed."
The resolution further states that the CPRA will not sign any partnership agreements with the Corps regarding the outfall canals until all three options are examined on a "level playing field."
The full text of the resolution is contained below:
COASTAL PROTECTION AND RESTORATION AUTHORITY
STATE OF LOUISIANA
MARCH 18, 2009
RESOLUTION NO. 1
A Resolution Regarding Orleans, London, and 17th Street Outfall Canals
on Lake Pontchartrain
WHEREAS, Outfall canals on Lake Pontchartrain served as a conduit to storm surge during Hurricane Katrina; and
WHEREAS, the protection system on the outfall canals failed to perform to the appropriate standard and resulted in significant flooding, loss of life and property in the New Orleans area; and
WHEREAS, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has installed storm surge barriers and pumps on the three outfall canals on Lake Pontchartrain, Orleans, London and 17th Street; and
WHEREAS, the Corps should be commended for these interim protection features being put in place under an alternative, expedited project development and implementation processes; and
WHEREAS, the interim protection features on the canals were designed with a service life of five to 10 years; and
WHEREAS, in 2006, Congress fulfilled the Corps of Engineers' request to provide funds to carry out a permanent solution on the three outfall canals on Lake Pontchartrain, Orleans, London and 17th Street canals; and
WHEREAS, Congress requested a technical analysis of alternatives and cost estimates associated with permanent protection on the 17th Street outfall canal; and
WHEREAS, the technical report submitted to Congress identified Option 2 and Option 2a as the best technical solutions to provide permanent protection on the outfall canal; and
WHEREAS, Option 1 would require the synchronization of the inland pumping station, Pump Station #6, and the lake pumping station to ensure that newly-established "safe water levels" on the outfall canal are not exceeded; and
WHEREAS, the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority of Louisiana (CPRA) recognize "lessons learned" from Hurricane Katrina that suggest minimizing possible points of failure and the need for redundancy in protection systems; and
WHEREAS, Option 2 includes re-grading, hardening the outfall canal and removing the inland pumping station, Pump Station #6; and
WHEREAS, Option 2 would eliminate the need to synchronize the pumping stations and eliminate the very low "margin of error" required to maintain water levels below the Corps' determined safe water level on the 17th Street canal; and
WHEREAS, Option 2a would include the recommendations of Option 2 as well as an additional component that would divert water from the 17th Street Canal drainage basin to the Mississippi River, known as "Pump to the River"; and
WHEREAS, the CPRA has concerns with the accurate comparison of the three outfall canal options communicated in the cost estimate report provided to Congress; and
WHEREAS, the CPRA is concerned that delays in the permanent solution could pose problems with relying upon the interim outfall canal protection features beyond the intended service life; and
WHEREAS, the CPRA will serve as the non-federal sponsor for this project;
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT HEREBY RESOLVED, that the CPRA's position is that before a proper solution for permanent protection features on the outfall canals is chosen for the outfall canals an accurate, peer-reviewed comparison of options be performed;
BE IT HEREBY RESOLVED FURTHER, that the CPRA will withhold the approval of a Project Partnership Agreement until all alternatives for the three canals are compared on a level playing field;
BE IT HEREBY RESOLVED FURTHER, that based upon discussions with Jefferson Parish, the New Orleans Sewerage and Water Board, and in reviewing the limited information available the CPRA believes that Option 2a is best alternative to ensure the protection of the Greater New Orleans area;
BE IT HEREBY RESOLVED FURTHER, that a copy of this resolution be transmitted to the Louisiana Congressional delegation, the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works, the Chief of Engineers for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Mississippi Valley Division Commander, the director of Task Force Hope, the New Orleans District Commander, Jefferson Parish and the New Orleans Sewerage and Water Board.
This Resolution was declared adopted this 18th day of March, 2009.
For more information about the CPRA and Louisiana's coastal protection and restoration efforts, please contact Chris Macaluso at (225) 342-3968 or by email at email@example.com.
The Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority's mandate is to develop, implement and enforce a comprehensive coastal protection and restoration master plan. For the first time in Louisiana's history, this single state authority will integrate coastal restoration and hurricane protection by marshalling the expertise and resources of the Department of Natural Resources, the Department of Transportation and Development, and other state agencies, to speak with one clear voice for the future of Louisiana's coast. Working with federal, state and local political subdivisions, including levee districts, the CPRA will work to establish a safe and sustainable coast that will protect our communities, the nation's critical energy infrastructure, and our bountiful natural resources for generations to come. The CPRA of Louisiana was established by Act 8 of the 1st Extraordinary Session of 2005.