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On the heels of its announcement in late May that phase one of the reconstructed levee system in New Orleans would be completed in time for the beginning of hurricane season, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) also announced that it was accepting blame for the flooding during Hurricane Katrina last year.

The Corps has released its own study (totaling more than 6,000 pages) of the failed levee system in New Orleans, saying that the original system there was an incomplete patchwork of protection with flaws in design and construction. For example, the report states that flaws in the levee design that allowed breaches in the drainage canals-even though flood waters did not rise above the level the walls were designed to hold-were not foreseen.

Further, the report concludes that the Corps did not account for sinking soil levels (over time) in its design of the system. Many of the problems associated with the design and construction of the levee system, investigators for the Corps conclude, could have been remedied if the Corps was better organized in sharing information among its many departments and personnel. &quotThe pieces were not put together to solve the puzzle,&quot the report states.

To read more about the report, visit the Corps’ website at www.usace.army.mil/.

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