LA: 17th Street Canal Seepage

More digging is scheduled in the next few days to trace how water has been seeping — even bubbling — onto Bellaire Drive near the Katrina-damaged 17th Street Canal.

Relatively small amounts of water have been leaking from the Lakeview canal levee for a year or longer, despite $24.4 million in repairs by the Army Corps of Engineers since Katrina breached the eastern floodwall in 2005.

The corps dug up some wet spots in April but couldn’t find the underground path of water from the canal to Bellaire. The wet spots disappeared after that site was filled with tons of compacted clay, but new ones have gradually appeared several hundred feet to the south.

It is these new sites, one of which sometimes bubbles and sends water pooling along Bellaire, that will be excavated once summer rainstorms slow enough to dry the ground a bit, corps spokesman Randy Cephus said. The spots are in a grassy area about 100 by 40 feet between the floodwall and Bellaire.

The corps has agreed to give to the authority all geotechnical data gathered on the 17th Street Canal and the corps’ analysis of that information. The authority will give that data to the engineers it plans to retain for a second opinion of floodwall stability.

If a seepage source isn’t identified during this week’s excavation, levee commissioners said they will next seek an independent analysis of that issue as well.


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