Helicopter-Based Geophysical Reconnaissance of Levees: A Faster, Cost-Effective Tool for Assessing Their Risk

by William E. Doll, P.G., Ph.D., Senior Geophysicist; TetraTech, Oak Ridge, TN, william.doll@tetratech.com,

Serial Information: Geo-Strata —Geo Institute of ASCE, 2018, Vol. 22, Issue 1, Pg. 36-42

Document Type: Feature article

Abstract: As with much of the nation's infrastructure, people are becoming more and more aware of the condition of levee systems in the United States. The media cast a spotlight on the New Orleans levee failures during Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and the flooding along the Mississippi River and its tributaries during May and June 2011. And more recently, levee failures in the vicinity of Houston, TX, contributed to the devastation associated with Hurricane Harvey in September 2017. Moreover, predictions that the climate is becoming more volatile or extreme have only heightened the public's concerns. A 2013 news report stated that repairs are urgently needed along 3,200 km distributed among 326 levees (out of 1,451 levees that had been assessed). And we can presume that even more levees are in need of repair, because only about 60 percent of the 2,487 levee structures in the U.S. had been assessed when that news report was released.

Subject Headings: Hurricanes and typhoons | Levees and dikes | Financial management | Risk management | Dam failures | Failure analysis | Infrastructure | Floods | United States | New Orleans | Louisiana | Mississippi River | Texas


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