Corps, Levee District begin study for St. Charles flooding

Published 12:00 am Monday, April 11, 2005


Staff Reporter

ST. CHARLES PARISH – The Lake Pontchartrain Levee District and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, are conducting a three year study to determine the feasibility of implementing flood damage reduction for the east bank of St. Charles Parish.

On March 30, after an agreement was signed, the study began consisting of two parts, 30 months of data collection and six months of review. During the study, a hydraulic model and analysis of 11 sub basins on the east bank will be performed.

“The feasibility phase of the study will provide exact measurements,” said Steve Wilson, president of board of commissioners of the Pontchartrain Levee District. “The hydraulic model is a computer based program, where all the data from the study will be plugged in. Worse case scenarios will be modeled in order to understand what we need to fix the problems from storm surge.”

Wilson said the hurricane protection levee is intended, and constructed under the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers criteria, to reduce flooding associated with storm surges, but does not protect the area from heavy rainfall.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers New Orleans Project Manager, Jim St. Germain, said the study will cost around $5.5 million and will gather data examining water patterns and how to improve internal drainage problems.

“Pump stations are critical to the area,” said Ganesier “Ram” Ramchandran, District 3 councilman. “We’re going fifty-fifty on this. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will pay 50 percent and the (Pontchatrain) Levee District and the (St. Charles) parish will split the other 50 percent. The Levee District is responsible for 80 percent and the parish 20 percent.”

Three new pump stations are anticipated for the east bank of St. Charles Parish that are twice the size of the $9 million Bayou Trepagnier Pump Station, according to Greg Bush, director of public works and waste water. The study will determine if St. Charles Parish will receive federal funding for the pumps, he said.

“The pumps in Norco will not be replaced,” said Tony Cunningham, St. Charles Parish commissioner. “They were just dedicated and put on-line in early December last year. The focus of this study is to help alleviate other flooding problems in the area and justify the need for more pumping stations.”