Crisis averted on Pearl River

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wwltv.com

Posted on September 2, 2012 at 7:34 PM

Updated Sunday, Sep 2 at 7:40 PM

Doug Mouton / Eyewitness News
Email: dmouton@wwltv.com | Twitter: @dmoutonwwl

It is calm on the Pearl River Navigational Canal. The crisis is over. Simply put, the cork was pulled on the bath tub, the water drained, and the danger is now over here in Bush.

“As you you see the structure is sound, the integrity of the structure is fine,” said Cavanaugh Breazeale of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. “The water did overtop the, as you see behind us, this wall, and did some scouring of the clay and sand material. But again, we are fine now. We have analyzed the situation and there is no danger now.”

The danger clearly existed Saturday when a leak in the lead gate, at lock two, filled up the interior of the two-gate system and threatened to blow it.

Fearing a wall of water, the parish evacuated the area. But parish engineers opened the valve, which began draining the water out, releasing the pressure.

“By opening the valves, our public works crews were able to provide some immediate relief, which took the edge off of that immediate threat, but at that point there was no assurance that what we are doing was going to hold,” said St. Tammany Parish spokeswoman Suzanne Parsons-Stymiest.

It did hold. And now St. Tammany leaders say they’ll work with the corps to make sure the locks are watched more closely.

“There have to be some eyes physically on the locks and all of those facilities to watch over them,” Parsons-Symiest said.

The Army Corps of Engineers said looking forward, now, in storm situations, a closer eye will be kept on these locks.

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