Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Seepage and sand boils

I've been reading about levee saturation and seepage in various spots over the past few weeks. When this happens, we always get some version of the following disclaimer.

The clarity of the water is the biggest indicator on just how safe the seepage spot may be. Clear is okay, say officials, where as a more muddy mixture means that water from the Mississippi River is actually taking part of the levee with it as it seeps through—ruining the flood protection.

Levee district officials on the West Bank say all the seepage spots they've seen are emitting relatively clear water, that is except two somewhat murky spots the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers recently investigated and found not to be a threat. On the East Bank, inspectors haven't found any signs of seepage in Jefferson Parish, but are watching 3 in Orleans and 8 in St. Bernard. All so far, they say, show clear water.

Since all Mississippi River water is, you know, pretty muddy to begin with, I'm wondering how we are to define "relatively clear water" in terms of seepage.

The water in this video, for example, which I'm told was shot in south Baton Rouge looks pretty muddy to me.

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