Letter to the Editor: Sunset Drainage District levee elevations

There was a Herald Guide article and a Letter to the Editor from Parish President Cochran in the Jan. 10, 2019 edition of the Herald Guide relating to subsidence of the Sunset Drainage District (SOD} levee. These were subsequent to an article that was published on Dec. 17, 2018 in the Advocate entitled “Flood risk in St. Charles Parish increasing as levee sinks from lack of maintenance.” The article noted my concern with elevations that were provided to me by the Parish which showed the how much the levee sank since the time the Council became the governing authority of the SOD. Since the time the Council became the GA of the SOD, a public entity separate which is separate and apart and independent of public entity St. Charles Parish, the only thing that the Parish has done ·with respect to the SOD levees has been cutting grass.

The Herald Guide article and a Letter to the Editor generally says that the elevation the Parish provided to me was inaccurate and misrepresented the situation. If that is the case, the Parish has its own self to blame. Was the elevation information provided by the Parish to me inaccurate? Who knows! But we need to know!

Elevation shots on the SOD levee were taken on the ground by an outside firm in 2013. This needs to be duplicated now so as to determine the grades at the same spots OIJ the levee today to see exactly how much it has settled since 2013. This is the only true and accurate means of determining what the current grades are and how much the levee has really settled.

In addition, the grades on the levee need to be taken from Hwy. 90 in Paradis up to where the grades started on the 2013 survey. This area from the highway to Magnolia Ridge was not surveyed at that time. This will tell us what we have there with regards to elevations and will give us something to reference elevation-wise along this stretch in the future.

With respect to the areas needed attention along the SOD levee which have sank or which will sink in the future to unacceptable levels, a plan needs to be developed along the follows lines:

  1. A decision needs to be made on the minimum elevation that any portion of the levee will be allowed to getdown to before action is taken to raise the levee.
  2. 6’ elevation on Mud Lake?
  3. 5’ elevation on Grand Bayou?
  4. Only clay from a Corps approved borrow pit will be used when raising any portions of the levee.
  5. The clay in the areas to be raised must be placed in accordance with the Corps levee construction requirements.

4 . The areas that are raised are to be raised to the minimum elevation plus at least 1 foot of freeboard.

There will be a Hurricane Protection Projects Committee Meeting that will be held at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 22, prior to the 6 p.m. council meeting.

The agenda has “Plan for Sunset Drainage District” as one of the items to be discussed. Concerned citizens located in the SDD should attend to demand that a plan be put in place by the Parish to maintain the SDD levee.

Maintaining the levee is something that the Parish is required and obligated to do on behalf of the SDD as a result of the Cooperative Endeavor Agreement (CEA) that the SDD entered into with the parish.

We, as property owners in the SDD, must demand that the SDD (with council being its GA) steps up and demands that the Parish (with council being its GA) does what it is obligated to do per the CEA.

Paul Hogan
Councilman-at-Large,
Div. B
P.O. Box 250,
Des Allemands, LA 70030
(504) 625-4862

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