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MARRERO, La. Jul 19, 2019 – The Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority – Westhas concluded its emergency response activities related to Tropical Storm Barry. Below is a recap of significant activities conducted by the Authority during the last week:
All Floodgates Were Closed For the First Time
In preparation for Tropical Storm Barry, the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority – W (SLFPA-W) closed all gates in the system for the first time in the history of the levee district. This includes all gates on the river, as well as in the hurricane protection system. Following the threat, all gates are now operational. For location and status of floodgates, please visit: https://slfpaw.org/floodgate-summary/
The SLFPA-W Command Center was in operation from Wednesday, July 10 through Sunday afternoon, July 14. During that time, the Center was fully staffed by assigned personnel from the Authority who worked to ensure the safety of homes and businesses within its jurisdiction.
Monitoring Mississippi River High Water Levels
The Mississippi River remains at high levels for a record number of days. The Bonnet Carre Spillway will remain open until mid-August and poses a future possible challenge if there is another tropical event before then. The Authority will continue to monitor the river levels and the levees along the West Jefferson and Algiers district.
Several news reports highlighted seepage from the levee at several spots along the river. These are normal results of high water events, and the Authority along with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are monitoring this seepage on a daily basis.
Levees and Flood Control Structures
All levees and flood control structures within the Authority’s jurisdiction are functioning properly. The future is also well planned and financed. Levees are constantly monitored by the Authority, and there is a system in place for levee lifts, with protective armoring planned for the next twenty years. In spite of erroneous news reports to the contrary, SLFPA-W anticipates the normal occurrence of levees sinking and has the resources in place to keep them up to the Authority’s high standards. Likewise, flood control structures are being maintained and repaired on schedule.
West Closure Complex
The activation of the West Closure Complex sector gates on Friday, July 12 and the West Closure Complex pumps on Saturday, July 13 had minimal impact on lower Jefferson Parish. (Gauge reports are available for review).
- This is an issue that has been studied at length since Hurricane Isaac, when the West Closure Complex was activated for the first time. The Corps of Engineers conducted a study at that time, verifying the West Closure Complex has very little impact on rising waters and lower Jefferson Parish.
- According to the Master Water Control Manual for the West Closure Complex, SLFPA-W met the first criteria, allowing them to close the gate after navigation was cleared. The pumps were clear to turn on immediately following the closure of the gate, with clearance to draw the canal down to 0.0. The decision was made to wait 24 hours to monitor rainfall. As Tropical Storm Barry drew closer, SLFPA-W chose to turn the pumps on and only draw the interior canal down to 1.0.
- All decisions made during the operation of the West Closure Complex were within the standing instructions.