Drainage canal banks crumbling
MORGAN CITY, La. — Land washed out at drainage canals in two Morgan City locations may be unsightly but it’s not dangerous, according to officials familiar with the project.
George Glaubrecht, engineer at Domingue, Szabo and Associates in Lafayette, said the loss of stability on the side slopes of the drainage canal behind Marquis Manor and Cypress Gardens is the result of erosion.
“Over time, when it rains, the drainage channels fill with water, and they are pumped down with pumping stations. Sometimes that water flows rapidly and you get bits of erosion at the bottom (of the canal) because of the speed. Over time, there is a loss of material. Then, there is a loss of stability on the side slopes,” Glaubrecht said.
Ray Autrey, member of the parish Consolidated Gravity Drainage District 2 board which oversees the project, said repair work currently is in the engineering phase.
“There’s some things we could do to make it look nice but it wouldn’t fix the problem,” he said, adding that there are no drainage restriction or concerns.
“I know it’s somewhat unsightly, but we’ll address that, and it’ll be fixed up,” Autrey said.
Interim Board Chairman Harrel Wilson agreed.
“It’s not at any critical stage of anything. Nothing is going to happen to it other than we have to fix it,” Wilson said.
Glaubrecht said there are numerous options for the repair. They often depend on how much money the district has to do the work.
They range from completely lining the channels, which is expensive, to driving sheeting at the bottom and adding blocks or concrete to stabilize the channel. Another option is to place a specialized fabric into the earth to stabilize it.
East Garner Drive resident Andy Shirley said he believes enough dirt will fall that it will dam up the canal and flood yards.
“They need coolies (cement lining) like they did in Lafayette … it’s expensive as rip, but you do it one time and it’s done,” he said.
Once Glaubrecht comes back to the board with engineering recommendations, the board will proceed to requests for proposals and receiving bids for the work. No date has been set yet.
As for another washout on Justa Street in Lakeside, the situation is different and its causes aren’t entirely clear.
When the drainage board was working to protect Lakeside from potential flooding in the high water event of 2011, sand and equipment were loaded in the area of the Justa Street canal between Carol and Lake Palourde drives near the pumping station, Glaubrecht said.
Doing so crushed the underground pipe in two places. The pipe is being replaced with concrete pipes, which should be stronger if heavy equipment needs to pass over the area in the future, Glaubrecht said.
Preliminary work is ongoing by On-Grade Construction in Donaldsonville.
Meanwhile, Autrey said the situation was caused by an improper installation of pipe many years ago.
“Whenever that was installed years ago, it was an improper installation, and it created a washout situation. We’re doing a correction now. It will be a continuous solid piping from the catch basin to the pump station,” Autrey said.
He added that it will be complete before hurricane season starts. There are no concerns of levee integrity in the area, he added.