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APPENDIX C: FORENSIC ENGINEERING ANALYSES OF THE LOWER 9TH WARD BREACHES Summary Forensic engineering analyses of the two

breaches that resulted in the catastrophic flooding of the Lower 9th Ward and adjacent areas shows that failure of the flood protection structure (levee, floodwall, supporting sheet piles) was due primarily to multiple flaws and defects embedded in this flood protection structure during its life-cycle. These flaws and defects included those developed during the concept development (e.g. failure to recognize I-wall tension gap), design (e.g. failure to properly evaluate soil conditions and characteristics), construction (e.g. failure to drive sheet piling to depths sufficient to prevent excessive water intrusion), operation (e.g. failure to provide adequate safe-guards to adjacent flood protection structure during IHNC lock expansion activities), and maintenance (e.g. failure to respond to early warnings of potential for excessive seepage). Hurricane Katrina provided a test of this flood protection structure and it performed miserably. The available information indicates a high degree of correlation of the site clearing work for the USACE Lock Expansion Project at the East Bank Industrial Area (EBIA) sites and the two breach locations in the flood protection structure adjacent to the Lower 9th Ward. This remediation work (removal of soils, formation of cavities, vibrations) very probably had important effects on the soils relied upon to provide stability and protection for the flood protection structure. Removal and disturbance of the surface soils overlying the permeable subsoils (marsh layers) would have facilitated the under seepage discussed in this Appendix. In addition, removal of the soils on the canal side of the floodwall would have reduced the lateral stability of the flood protection structure.

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History of IHNC and East Bank Industrial Area Since the founding of New Orleans by the French in 1718, a navigation channel between the Mississippi River and Lake Pontchartrain had been proposed. This would allow intercoastal commerce to connect with river and seaborne commerce (Figure C.1). The Port Authority of New Orleans (established 1896) recognized that the problem with establishing a water link was the fluctuating flow of the river and the difference in the elevations of the river and Lake Pontchatrain. Thus, locks would be needed to control the flow between the river and the lake.

Figure C.1: Map of the City of New Orleans (1829, Historic New Orleans Collection)

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In 1914 the Port Authority received authorization from the state legislature to locate and construct a deep-water canal. The proposed canal would be 5.3 miles long and up to 1,600 feet wide, located just downstream of the Army’s riverfront supply center (about 2 miles downriver and parallel to Elysian Fields Avenue). Construction of the IHNC was started in 1918 with the excavation necessarily proceeding from the lake toward the river. Excavation work started with construction of parallel dikes on either side of the canal so hydraulic fill could be placed behind the dikes. Hydraulic excavation was used wherever possible to excavate the channel, when the materials were easily loosed. Draglines were employed to scoop out the more resistant soils dragging it up onto the dikes which were gradually built up to become permanent protective levees. Buried cypress stumps slowed progress by jamming the suction dredges and stalling the dragline buckets. From the outset, contractors battled the problems with stability of the canal slopes, as water and the soft soils constantly slid back into the excavation. The canal excavation was completed in 1919 and work then shifted to the lock structure located 2,000 feet from the Mississippi River at the south end of the canal (Figure C.2). Very severe problems were encountered during construction of the IHNC locks due to slumping soils and running sands (indicating high water conductivity and flow). Soil borings (Figure C.3) disclosed the presence of extensive buried layers of “humus.” These layers existed to penetrations exceeding 30 feet. These layers represented the layers of swamp (hard growth) and marsh (soft growth) that had been buried with dredge spoil and fill imported to raise the ground elevation.

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Figure C.2: IHNC channel dimensions (USACE 1971)

Figure C.3: Soil borings performed in vicinity of IHNC lock disclose the presence of extensive layers of buried “humus” underlying the east bank (present area of the Lower 9th Ward) (USACE 1971) Upon completion, the Port Authority set about developing piers, docks and quays along the INHC to increase cargo handling. The Port Authority also made available adjacent lands for use by industries. Much of the area on the west side of the IHNC was built during World War II. The eastern side was developed after the early 1950s (Figure C.4).

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Figure C.4: IHNC 1964 (USACE photograph) The gulf coast portion of the GIWW (Gulf Intracoastal Water Way) is a protected shipping channel between Port Isabel, Texas and Apalachee Bay Florida. In 1944, under the USACE authorization, the GIWW was rerouted to pass thorough the southern part of the IHNC and tie in with the Mississippi River. The MR-GO and its tie-in with the GIWW were completed in the 1960s. Thus, the IHNC became intimately connected with the Gulf of Mexico through the GIWW and MR-GO. The effectiveness of this navigable waterways connection was demonstrated during hurricane Betsy in September 1965 when both sides of the IHNC in the vicinity of the Lower 9th Ward experienced breaks (Figure C.5). Some 6,560 homes and 40 businesses were flooded in water up to 7 feet deep on the west side of the IHNC. The east side of the IHNC also failed, flooding the present Lower 9th Ward in water up to 9 feet deep (Figure C.6).

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Figure C5: Hurricane Betsy flood inundation map (USACE 1965)

Figure C.6: Flooding east of IHNC – Lower 9th Ward following hurricane Betsy (USACE photograph) C.6

The USACE report on hurricane Betsy (1965) states that both internal levee failures and overtopping along the IHNC occurred on both the west and east sides. No details concerning the mechanisms of failure were provided. Following hurricane Betsy, the IHNC levees were heightened using steel sheet piles and concrete I-walls in the 1980s and 90s. By the late 1990s work was underway to expand the IHNC locks to relieve shipping congestion and allow further expansion of the Port of New Orleans. Congress authorized the study for the lock enlargement / replacement in 1956. The proposed new locks would require a bypass channel that would be constructed at the East Bank Industrial Area (EBIA). The EBIA is located in the Lower 9th Ward, west of the floodwall and east of the IHNC, between Florida Avenue and Claiborne Avenue (Figure C.7).

Figure C.7: IHNC and EBIA (left side) (USACE photograph) Available documentation indicates that the USACE purchased the EBIA site from the Port of New Orleans in order to proceed with the bypass channel construction (Washington Group International - WGI, “Project Work Plan, Project Site Development and Remedial Action of East Bank Industrial Area, Inner Harbor Navigation Canal Lock Replacement Project,” report to USACE, New Orleans District, 2000). WGI began working at the job site in January 2001. C.7

The EBIA consists of 32 acres of former industrial sites previously leased from the Port of New Orleans to private owners. The EBIA consisted of six facilities named for their former occupants. These included (starting at the south) the International Tank Terminal, Saucer Marine, Mayer Yacht – Distributors Oil, Indian Towing, McDonough Marine, and Boland Marine. At one time, underground storage tanks were located at both the Boland property and the Saucer property. These tanks were reported to have been removed. The State of Louisiana listed Boland Marine as an unspecified hazardous waste generator. In 1991, an anonymous employee contacted the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality and reported that the company had buried drums containing hazardous waste onsite. The EBIA had a long history spanning more than 4 decades of industrial use by marine service and petroleum distribution companies. Purportedly, tenants contaminated the property as a result of their industrial operations. Also of particular significance at the EBIA was the active placement of construction materials (concrete rubble) and solid wastes (barges, metal turnings, concrete blocks) to protect the properties from the effects of ship wakes. These two activities had two primary impacts derived from the existence of hazardous constituents that could negatively affect: 1) the environment at the time of construction, and 2) construction of the bypass channel. To ameliorate these potential negative effects, the USACE New Orleans district contracted with WGI to characterize and remediate the EBIA’s environmental contamination and identify and remove construction materials likely to interfere with bypass channel construction. For remediation, the specifications required the canal bank be excavated to a depth four feet below the existing grade and fifteen feet from the edge of the water onto land. When possible, the work was done during low tide to facilitate visual observation of the work. When

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work was completed, the landside of these excavations became the ‘new’ shoreline. It is reported by WGI (“Technical Completion Report,” 2005) that in the majority of cases the canal bank was excavated as required to a depth of four feet, additional observations of contamination prompted excavations to a deep as nine feet. The records provided by WGI indicate that a total of 12,259 tons of contaminated soils were removed from the Boland site and 35,636 tons of contaminated soils were removed from the Saucer site. In addition to removal of canal-side soils that had previously provided stability and protection to the flood protection structure, numerous underground storage tanks and debris were removed. At the Saucer site, large underground storage tanks had to be removed. In addition, a buried railroad tank car required construction of a cofferdam so that the tank car could be filled with air, floated free, lifted and transported from the site. At the northern Boland site, a wharf extended along most of the IHNC. Following removal of the wharf materials, the piles comprising the foundation were pulled and transported from the site. Twelve abandoned barges were located on the EBIA site. Conditions of the barges ranged from beached to completely sunken (embedded into the bottom). Ten of the barges were removed from the southern Saucer site and two barges from the northern Boland site. WGI completed its work, removed its equipment, and demobilized from the job site in May 2005. Development of the Breaches during Hurricane Katrina The IHNC sits at the heart of the three main populated regions of New Orleans. As shown in Figure C.8, a number of breaches developed along the IHNC during Hurricane Katrina, contributing to the flooding of all three of the most heavily populated protected areas in this event. This Appendix addresses the two breach locations on the east side of the IHNC adjacent to the Lower 9th Ward.

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Figure C.8: Map showing principal features of the protected areas in the New Orleans area (ILIT 2006) These two breaches will be identified as the “North Breach” (approximately 100 feet wide, south of Florida Avenue) and “South Breach” (approximately 1,000 feet wide, north of North Clairborne Avenue). Figure C.6 shows the locations of the North and South Breaches – the photograph was taken on 6 September 2005 (National Oceanic and Space Administration 2005). C.7 shows a similar photograph taken about the same time from a different perspective showing the breach sites at the Lower 9th Ward relative to the intersection of the MR-GO – GIWW and IHNC.

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Figure C.9: Aerial photograph of North Breach and South Breach sites taken 6 September 2005 (NOAA 2005). Postulated breach initiation sites indicated. Note the USACE lock expansion site clearing ‘holes’ left immediately outside the floodwall protecting the Lower 9th Ward (to top of photograph)

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Figure C.10: Two Lower 9th Ward breach locations relative to ‘T’ intersection of IHNC with MR-GO – GIWW (USACE IPET 2007)

Early the morning of 29 August 2005, the water level in the IHNC began to rise as a result of the effects of the hurricane Katrina surge developed in Lake Borgne and its hydraulic connectivity with the MR-GO - ICWW (Figure C.11). The main peak of this storm surge was relatively short-lived, rising quickly over a period of several hours to a maximum elevation of approximately +14 feet (MSL, Mean Sea Level) at approximately 8:30 a.m. (Central Daylight

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Time), and then subsiding quickly thereafter. The hydrographs in figure C.11 are bsed on actual measurements of the water levels versus time near the west bank corssing of the CSX rail line across the IHNC channel. The ‘dip’ in the rising hydrograph at one of the stations wa caused by a localized temporary drawdown due to development of a breach in that vicinity at approximately 5:00 a.m.

Figure C.11: Katrina hydrograph for IHNC (USACE IPET 2007) As the water level in the INHC increased during hurricane Katrina, the water reached the top of the earth levee on the east side and rose up the concrete floodwall (Figure C.12). The top of the earthen berm had an elevation on the east side outside the I-wall alignment higher than the land behind the levee, having been built-up with materials dredged from the IHNC to form the EBIA. This bench extends 100 to 200 feet west of the I-wall alignment at an elevation of zero to about 2 feet. Due to the USACE decision regarding the reference elevation for construction of the I-walls, everything was built 2 to 3 feet too low (top of wall elevations 12 to 13 feet).

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Figure C.12: As-built drawings for I-wall installation on the east bank of the IHNC adjacent to the Lower 9th Ward. North Breach Available evidence indicates that the first of the two breaches to occur was the North breach (USACE IPET 2007, Team Louisiana 2007). Based on timing established by ‘stopped clocks,’ this breach appears to have fully developed by approximately 5:45 a.m., as floodwater began to halt clocks in homes in the adjacent neighborhood shortly after that time (Team Louisiana 2007). Eyewitness reports indicate that water was entering this area as early as 5:00 a.m. (USACE IPET 2007). It is likely that this early report of flooding is associated with the onset of development of the breach (movement of the earth berm and concrete I-wall, Figure C.4) and opening the vertical ‘expansion joints’ in the concrete I-walls. This behavior was observed and photographed during the evolution of the breach at the 17th Street Canal. Figure C.13 shows an aerial view of this feature. This was a relatively narrow feature, less than 100 feet in width, and unlike the more massive second failure that occurred several hundred yards to the south, there was no evidence of sustained overtopping adjacent to this 14

feature. The hydrographs indicate that the water level would have been at approximately +4.5 feet MSL at the onset of the failure and at approximately +9.0 feet MSL at the time of the full development of the breach. This meant that the wall failed before the water reached the top of the wall at approximately + 12 feet MSL. Identified in Figure C.13 and Figure C.14 (taken while water is flowing into the Lower 9th Ward) are ‘holes’ located immediately outside (IHNC side) the flood wall. This feature can be seen more clearly in Figure C.15. This feature is in the immediate vicinity of one of the underground excavations reported by WGI in the EBIA lock expansion site clearing report (WGI 2005).

Figure C.13: Photograph of the North Breach at Lower 9th Ward taken 29 August 2005 (USACE IPET 2007). Note the water filled ‘hole’ immediately outside the flood wall on the IHNC side.

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Figure C.14: Photograph of the North Breach taken while water is still flowing into the Lower 9th Ward. Note the deep water filled ‘hole’ immediately outside the flood wall on the IHNC side. Turbulent water indicates shallow inward flows taking place

Figure C.15: Photograph of North Breach taken shortly after passage of hurricane Katrina showing breach repair operations underway. Deep hole located outside the wall is indicated.

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South Breach Several hundred yards to the south of the North Breach, a massive second breach developed. Figure C.16 shows an oblique aerial view of the South Breach which ws approximately 1000 feet in length. The large barge washed in through this very long feature is visible in this photograph. The sheetpile wall is also clearly visible. The sheetpiles remained interlocked throughout the severe inflow and scour caused by the breach. The concrete floodwall atop the sheetpiles could not withstand the deformations developed by the sheetpiles as they were stretched and much of the concrete I-wall panels spalled off of the top of the sheetpile curtain. The large excavation ‘hole’ on the former EBIA site immediately outside the breach and adjacent to the former alignment of the floodwall is indicated on Figure 16. This feature is in the immediate vicinity of one of the underground excavations reported by WGI in the EBIA lock expansion site clearing report (WGI 2005).

Figure C.16: Oblique aerial photograph of South Breach showing barge and excavation ‘hole’ outside the floodwall alignment at the former EBIA site (FEMA 2005)

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A similar but earlier photograph is shown in Figure C.17. This photograph was taken during the water outflow the afternoon of 29 August 2005. The deep ‘holes’ immediately outside the floodwall alignment at the north and south ends of the South Breach are indicated on the photograph. The aerial photograph taken about the same time shown in Figure C.18 shows the excavation holes at the north and south ends of the South Breach.

Figure C.17: Oblique photograph showing the South Breach with levee alignment and EBIA lock expansion site clearing ‘holes’ immediately outside the north and south ends of the breach are indicated (USACE IPET 2007)

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Figure C.18: Aerial photograph shown the South Breach with EBIA lock expansion site clearing ‘holes’ immediately outside the north and south ends of the breach are indicated (NOAA 2005) Geology and Soil Conditions The near surface geology at this location is dominated by sediments deposited by past distributaries of the Mississippi River with the exception of the area near Lake Pontchartrain. Conditions near the lake (Figure C.19). The area at the IHNC - Lower 9th Ward is underlain by swamp and marsh deposits that vary between 10 and 20 feet in thickness. Interdistributary materials consist largely of fat clays below the marsh and swamp deposits. This layer, which also contains zones of lean clays and slit, is approximately 30 to 35 feet thick. A complex estuarine deposit exists below the interdistributary layer and is comprised of a complex mixture of clays, silts, sands, and broken shell material. This deposit is about 30 feet thick and is underlain by Pleistocene deposits which are commonly a stiff clay.

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Figure C.19: Near-surface geology of area between 17th Street Canal and IHNC Lower 9th Ward area

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South Breach

North Breach

Figure C.20: East bank of IHNC geologic section through South Breach and North Breach sites (USACE IPEt 2007)

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A centerline geologic section of the east bank of the IHNC (Figure C.20) shows the North Breach and South Breach to be underlain by primarily gray clays with occasional plastic silt strata. There are two significant marsh (swamp) deposits in the upper foundation soils. Figure C.21 shows a cross-section through the South Breach. The top of the concrete floodwall at this location is at approximately +12.7 feet (MSL). The clayey levee embankment sits atop primarily gray clays (CH) with occasional plastic silt strata. There are two significant “marsh” layers in the upper foundation as well. The sheet pile curtain supporting the concrete floodwall is very short with its base at –8 feet MSL. This ‘short-sheet’ design fails to cut off flow through the second primary marsh layer. The “marsh” layer is a variably interbedded layer of organic silts, clays and peats. Lateral permeability of this ensemble is variable. There is a well established history of underseepage problems along this and nearby levee frontages (ILIT 2006, Team Louisiana 2007).

Figure C.21. Geologic cross section through the South Breach (CH – high plasticity clays, ML – silts, CL – low plasticity clays)\ Geologists have determined that this location is crossed by a growth fault zone; the Lake Borgne growth fault. Such growth faults are endemic to the southern coastal states (due to 22

compaction of soft underlying sediments, ground water withdrawal, petroleum production, and other similar activities). These zones develop features like silt dikes such as was found at this location (Gagliano 2005). Such features have been mapped in the center of the south breach that developed in the Lower 9th Ward during hurricane Katrina (Figure C.22). These zones extend to significant depths (well in excess of 100 feet). Earthquakes have occurred along these zones (one reported in this area in 1964, Gagliano 2005). These growth fault zones could provide weaknesses and high water conductivity (permeability) conduits in the soil column.

Figure C.22: Mapped growth fault (Lake Borgne fault zone) through center of South Breach (Gagliano, Effects of Geological Faults on Levee Failures in South Louisiana, Testimony to U.S. Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works, November 17, 2005)

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Additional evidence for the nature of the under seepage potential at these two sites was provided by an impressive “crevasse splay” (local term for fan shaped under seepage erosion features, ILIT 2006). This crevasse splay developed at the outboard side of the interim repair section at the south breach (Figure C.23). This crevasse splay occurred at the relatively low reverse-flow gradients as the inboard area continued to drain after it had already been largely unwatered by pumping after initial drainage through open breaches. This crevasse splay undermined the otherwise continuous outboard side toe fill blanket along this frontage. The location of this crevasse splay, coincident with the location of the south breach failure provides strong support for the presence of a foundation stratum of very high lateral permeability at this location.

Figure C.23: Crevasse splay induced by reverse flow beneath the interim repair embankment

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A contractor was given the job by USACE to construct a cofferdam associated with construction of a drainage culvert located north of this area during the period 1999 to 2003. As shown in Figure C 24, the contractor experienced significant difficulties with water flooding and soil heaving at depths between about –15 feet and –30 feet (McElwee personal communications 2005, 2006). Only after the sheetpiling were driven to penetrations of –60 feet were the water flooding and soil heaving problems arrested. The excavated soils were highly organic silts and clays.

Figure C.24: Soil heaving problems and seepage experienced during excavation of coffer dam Soil sampling and testing results indicate marsh deposits in the upper layers – extending to depths of –30 feet MSL. Based on knowledge of the geology of the area and the results from

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soil exploration testing and sampling, the depths are highly variable (as would be expected for the bottom of a swamp / marsh). The following quotations are from the soil boring logs that sampled the soils in these layers: "Very soft, gray clay, saturated, with large amount of word fragments and roots. High moisture content with trace organic matter, wood and significant amount of roots. Grading to firmer with depth. Unable to perform vane due to large amount of roots and wood in sample". "Very soft gray organic clay with humus and wood (Much wood at 19.5' - 20.0').” “ Very soft dark gray organic clay with humus and much wood". Results from the USACE IPET and ILIT soil borings and in situ tests performed in this area indicate the presence of “marsh” layers to a depth of –20+ feet (NAVD88). During the ILIT sampling program, very high conductivity through the marsh layers was observed during drilling through these layers at each of the sites in this area (Figure C.25). As the hole was drilled at one location, the drilling fluids quickly communicated through the marsh layers to the nearby adjacent holes which had been previously drilled. Examination of the samples indicated distinctive preferential layering of the organic material indicating much higher horizontal water conductivity compared with the vertical water conductivity.

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Figure C.25: Observations of very high hydraulic conductivity associated with buried “marsh” layers made during soil boring drilling operations at the Lower 9th Ward breach sites (Rogers 2007)

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North Breach Analyses Figure C.26 shows a cross-section through this breach site as employed in both finite element analyses, limit equilibrium analyses, and finite difference analyses. The embankment crest is at an elevation of approximately + 7.5 feet MSL and the upper portion of the embankment consists of moderately compacted clay fill. The lower embankment section is older historic fill and consists of locally available clays of relatively high plasticity. These are underlain by a stratum of variable “marsh” deposits approximately 10 feet in thickness. The marsh stratum is underlain by a relatively deep layer of soft, lacurstrine (lake) clays of relatively high plasticity. This figure also shows the relatively extensive dredged sandy fill placed at the outboard side of the floodwall to create additional land for the EBIA. Note that the navigation channel lock expansion site clearing underground obstruction removal excavation ‘holes’ are not included in this model. Currently, the author is performing analyses to determine the effects of these holes on the performance of the levee – floodwall – sheetpile system.

Figure C.26: Cross-section for analysis of the North Breach (Seed et al 2007)

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Figure C.27 shows the USACE IPET investigation’s interpretation of the statigraphy and shear strengths in the foundation soils beneath the inboard side levee toe at the North Breach. The solid symbols are shear strength test data and the irregular line is IPET’s interpreted undrained shear strengths from cone penetrometer testing (cone tip factor of NK = 15). The IPET investigation concluded that the soils at this site were normally consolidated over their full depths and the linear red lines int his figure are then the linearly increasing shear strength profiles used in the IPET analyses. The ILIT investigation (2006) and the later analyses summarized here (Seed et al 2007) used more elaborate methods for interpretation of the shear strength data. For the soft clays at this site, making use of the pore pressure measurements from the in situ piezocone data, the ILIT investigation re-interpreted the shear strength data using site-specific and material-specific cone tip factor value of NK = 12 as shown by the irregular fine blue line in Figure C.27. For the marsh deposits, following the same procedures, the IPET interpretation used a site-specific and material specific cone tip factor of NK = 15. Additional evaluation of the geology and depositional history indicated that the entire profile could not be treated as normally consolidated and the assessment of shear strength versus depth is shown in Figure C.27 by the heavy dashed red lines. Figure C.28 shows results from a transient flow seepage analysis that determines the calculated seepage exit gradients as they would have existed with the canal water at a level of +14 feet MSL. These transient flow analyses modeled the progressive rise in storm surge levels over the 24 hours before the failure at between 5:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m. The analyses in Figure C.27 were performed with a coefficient of horizontal permeability of Kh,marsh = 10-4 centimeters per second (cm/s). Exit gradients had become unsafe with regard to initiation of erosion at an earlier stage of this analysis, with exiting toe gradients reaching values of grater than 0.8 as early

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as 5:00 a.m. The pore pressures under the inboard levee toe became potential unsafe with regard to hydrostatic uplift (heave or “blowout” at approximately the same point in time.

C.27: Alternative intgerpretations of soil stratigraphy and shear strengths beneath the inboard side levee toe at the North Breach site (Seed et al 2007)

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Figure C.28: Hydraulic exit gradients for the North Breach. Horizontal permeability of 10-4 cm/s. Storm surge at +14 feet MSL. (Seed et al 2007) Even though a range of permeabilities and soil shear strengths were studied, they do not explain the occurrence of failure at this site as early as between 5:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m. The conclusions drawn from the analyses were that under seepage and piping exacerbated by uplift or ‘blowout’ at the inboard toe of the levee was the principal cause of this failure. It is postulated that the substantially shortened seepage paths caused by the water filled gap and the unfilled excavations left immediately outside the floodwall and sheetpiling will show that ‘blowout’ conditions could have existed as early as 5:00 a.m. to 6:00 a.m., thus explaining the water observed coming from the breach area. Analyses of this breach performed by the USACE IPET did not include permeability – seepage effects based on ‘professional judgment’. Their analyses of lateral stability indicated a deep sliding mode of failure (USACE IPET 2007).

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Both sets of these analyses have not addressed the potential effects of the ‘holes’ that existed on the IHNC side of the flood wall. As noted earlier, I am performing analyses to determine the effects of these excavations. The analyses will include a broad range of parameters to assist in development of additional insights into the reasons for the premature failure at the North Breach. South Breach Analyses Figure C.21 has presented a geologic cross section through the South Breach site. As for the North Breach site, transient flow analyses were performed for this site. The analyses showed that the rising storm surge in the canal was likely able to be partially effectively transmitted to foundation soils beneath the inboard side levee toe. The storm surge rose slowly at first, raising water levels in the IHNC from approximately +2 feet MSL to +5 feet MSL over a 22 hour period, and then the rate of water level rise increased as the eye of the storm approached, raising the water levels form + 5 feet to their full peak at approximately +14 feet MSL over an 11-hour period, and overtopping the concrete flood wall height by a bit more than a foot. As for the North Breach, these analyses do not include the effects of the navigation channel lock expansion site clearing unfilled excavations left immediately outside two locations along this stretch of the floodwall and sheetpiling. These effects will be addressed by future analyses. It is important to note that if these flood walls were designed, constructed, and maintained at their authorized elevations, and if breaching had not developed, there would have been minor overtopping and flooding of the Lower 9th Ward and adjacent areas. Figure C.22 shows equipotential water pressure (contoured in 1 foot increments of water head) contours and seepage vectors for transient flow analyses of conditions as the canal water

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levels reached + 14 feet MSL. The equipotential contours are those calculated based on a lateral coefficient of permeability for the “marsh” layer of Kh,marsh = 10-4 cm/s. A range of permeability coefficients were analyzed (Kh,marsh = 10-4 cm/s to Kh,marsh = 10-6 cm/s). As shown in Figure C.23, the fraction of the steady state pore pressure that accrues at this location is strongly affected by the lateral permeability of the marsh layer. For values of Kh,marsh = 10-4 cm/s to Kh,marsh = 10-6 cm/s, the fractionof the full steady state pore pressure (1,080 pounds per cubic foot) would be on the order of 85% to 77% of the steady state pore pressures . The pore pressures correspond to the ‘gapped’ wall – sheetpiling cases wherein it is assumed tat a gap opens between the sheetpiles and the levee embankment soils on the waterside as the canal water reaches an elevation of approximately +11 to +12 feet MSL. Such gapping was noted in the finite element analyses performed to model the behavior of this section. The effect of this gap is to permit direct entry of high water pressures at the base of the sheetpile curtain during the later states of the storm surge rise and this also adds to the pore pressure rise beneath the inboard side of the levee embankment. Exit gradients at the toe were calculated to be marginally unstable with respect to initiation of erosion and piping at this stage by approximately 8:30 a.m. for conditions corresponding to Kh,marsh = 10-4 cm/s or greater. Hydrostatic forces on the upper clay layer overlying the main marsh layer at the toe region were also marginally stable with regard to potential hydrostatic uplift for those conditions.

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Figure C.22: Equipotential contours when canal water levels reached +14 feet MSL. Contours are at 1-foot intervals of water head (63 pounds per square foot). Horizontal permeability is Kh,marsh = 10-4 cm/s (Seed et al 2007)

Figure C.23: Pore water pressure versus time at the top of the marsh layer at the toe of the levee (location D Figure C.22) as a function of permeability of the marsh layer (Seed et al 2007) 34

Figure C.24 shows results from the finite element analyses fir conditions at a canal water elevation of +13.5 feet MSL. Both the evolving outboard side ‘gap’ and the eroded inboard side trench are present at this stage. As shown in Figure C.24, two distinct failure mechanisms are approaching a failure state: an upper failure controlled by the relatively thin upper “marsh” layer, and a deeper mechanism along the top of the main lower “marsh” layer. Figure C.25 shows the calculated evolution of the Factor of Safety (water driving forces divided by soil resisting forces) as canal water levels rose. At a water level of approximately +10 to +12 feet, a water-filled ‘gap’ began to open on the outboard side of the sheetpile curtain, and the analytical case began to transition form the ‘un-gapped case’ to the ‘water –filled gap’ case. Based on both conventional limit equilibrium analyses coupled with transient flow seepage analyses, and finite element analyses which internally incorporated the seepage analyses, the best analytical estimate was that failure would occur at a canal water elevation of about +12.5 to +14.5 feet MSL. This is in very good agreement with the observed field performance at this section which suggests that the failure occurred at a canal water level of approximately +12.5 to + 14 feet MSL.

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C.24:Relative shear strain levels at a canal water elevation of +13.5 feet MSL at the South Breach (Seed et al 2007)

C.25: Evolution of the Factor of Safety as canal water levels rose at South Breach (Seed et al 2007)

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Summary and Conclusions At the site of both breaches, as the water level continued to rise the concrete floodwall and supporting sheet pilling leaned toward the protected side. Due to the levee crown (top) elevation (below water level at this time) and levee cross-section, water intruded into a gap that developed between the sheet piling and supporting soils on the canal side. This allowed substantial increases in the water lateral pressures acting on the floodwall – sheet piling – soil levee system. In addition, the leaning floodwall and sheet piling effectively cut the supporting levee in half substantially reducing its lateral capacity. At the same time, the current (Seed et al 2007) transient flow analyses show that the rising storm surge in the IHNC was effectively transmitted to the inboard side levee toe area. Based on the analyses summarized here, by about 8:00 a.m., approximately 75% to 90% of the steady state flow surge-induced pore pressures reached the foundation soils beneath the inboard toe of the levee. It is important to note that these flow analyses did not include the dramatically shortened flow paths caused by the gaps formed behind the floodwall nor of the site clearing unfilled excavation holes. Abundant evidence of flood side cracking and sinkhole formation on the protected side was found in the surviving I-wall segment between the north and south breaches. These under seepage effects would have had extremely important effects on the soil strengths and resistance to lateral and vertical forces. The IPET study did not analyze the potential effects of under seepage: “Piping and erosion from under seepage is unlikely because the I-walls were founded in a clay levee fill, a marsh layer made up of organics, clay and silt, and a clay layer. Because of the thickness, the low permeability of these materials, and the relatively short duration of the storm, this failure mode was considered not likely and was eliminated as a possible mode of failure” (IPET, 2007).

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Both the NAE/NRC and ASCE IPET oversight and review committees criticized the IPET lack of recognition and treatment of under base seepage effects in their analyses of the breaches that developed in the flood protection system during hurricane Katrina. As noted earlier, (due to their lower than authorized elevation and the surge water conducted into the IHNC by the ICWW and MRGO) from about 7 a.m. to 10 a.m., the floodwalls would have been overtopped. Because no protection (armoring) had been provided for the levee behind the floodwalls (e.g. splash pads), as the water overtopped the floodwalls, trenches were eroded behind the floodwalls. This led to removal of substantial portions of the levee and consequently reduced the lateral capacity of the flood protection structure (Figure C.26).

Figure C.26: Surge overtopping scour trench developed behind I-wall at south breach (USACE IPET 2007)

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Analyses performed by the author indicate that sections of the I-wall could have failed due to removal of the lateral support caused by erosion of the deep trenches (5 to 6 feet) formed behind the supporting sheet piles. These analyses and conclusions have been corroborated by Gordon Boutwell (Flooding Evaluation Tank T-250-2, Murphy Oil Facility, Meraux, LA, Expert Report, August 2006) and NIST (2006). This possibility needs to be further analyzed to determine if it could have been a controlling mode of failure for some sections. As the water continued to rise in the INHC, under the increased lateral pressures, the soil levee supporting the floodwall and sheet piling deformed laterally and differentially. The floodwall had vertical ‘water stops’ that separated the individual panels that comprised the concrete floodwall (expansion – settlement joints). Significant wall movement was found in the wall sections adjacent to the north breach. However, no such movement was evident adjacent to the south breach. As the flood protection structure deformed laterally under the water pressure, it is likely in the breach sections that the vertical water stops separating adjacent sections of the concrete flood wall opened sufficiently to all water to jet through the openings and erode the soils on the protected side of the levee. This behavior was photographed as the breach at the 17th Street Canal developed (Kardon, Bea, Williamson, “Validity and Reliability of Forensic Engineering Methods and Processes,” Proceedings 4th Forensic Congress, ASCE, 2006; IPET Report 2006). This could help explain the report given by IPET that eyewitnesses indicated that water in the 9th Ward near Florida Avenue was accumulating as early as 5 AM when the water level in the IHNC was still well below the top of the floodwall. Lateral translational instability was apparently involved at both north and south breaches. Inspections of the flood protection structure north and south of the North Breach indicated

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significant movements had occurred in the adjacent sections of the flood protection structure. There was no such indication south of the southern breach. However, the IPET analyses (2006, 2007) reached somewhat different conclusions for both the North Breach and the South Breach. IPET attributed the North Breach to a deep, semirotational failure through the soft gray clays of the foundation, and at an early time (well before 6:00 a.m. with water level at about 11 feet – well below the top of the floodwall) in order to explain the eyewitness observations cited earlier. This would indicate an ‘unexpected’ failure. The early eyewitness reports of water accumulation at the levee toe could be explained as resulting from water flowing through the water stops that could have been opened by differential deformations developed in the supporting soils. IPET stability analyses of the South Breach resulted in computer factors of safety larger than unity with the water level at the top of the wall and a crack behind the wall, indicating that the walls at those locations would have remained stable if none of the soil supporting the wall had been removed by erosion. As noted, IPET choose not to investigate the effects of under seepage and hence the effects were not included in their analyses. Additional evidence for the nature of the under seepage potential at these two sites was provided by an impressive “crevasse splay” (local term for fan shaped under seepage erosion features, ILIT 2006). This crevasse splay developed at the outboard side of the interim repair section at the south breach (Figure C.23). This crevasse splay occurred at the relatively low reverse-flow gradients as the inboard area continued to drain after it had already been largely unwatered by pumping after initial drainage through open breaches. This crevasse splay undermined the otherwise continuous outboard side toe fill blanket along this frontage. The location of this crevasse splay, coincident with the location of the south breach failure provides

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strong support for the presence of a foundation stratum of very high lateral permeability at this location. This zone or stratum of very high lateral permeability could be associated with the growth fault that has been mapped through the area of the South Breach (C.22). Most egregious were oversimplified assumptions and analyses performed by the USACE IPET concerning mechanisms of seepage and hydraulic uplift effects. Such mechanisms have been well known for decades. Seepage beneath levees is discussed in depth in the USACE Engineer Manual EM 1110-2-1913, Design and Construction of Levees, Chapter 5 “Seepage Control.” This chapter begins as follows: “Without control, under seepage in pervious foundations beneath levees may result in (a) excessive hydrostatic pressures beneath an impervious stratum on the landside, (b) sand boils, and (c) piping beneath the levee itself. Under seepage problems are most acute where a pervious substratum underlies a levee and extends both landward and riverward of the levee and where a relatively thin top stratum exists on the landside of a levee.” Inappropriate evaluation and analyses of the hydraulic and strength – deformation characteristics of the highly pervious organic marsh (swamp) layers underlying most of the greater New Orleans area has been a historic and pervasive ‘blind spot’. Forensic engineering investigations subsequent to hurricane Katrina clearly have identified its potential effects at the 17th Street Canal breach, the London Canal breaches, many of the important breaches along the MR-GO protective structures, and at the two breaches at the Lower 9th Ward. The conclusions reached by the engineering forensic analyses are in substantial agreement; the flood protection structure adjacent to the Lower 9th Ward did not perform acceptably or as intended in the original design. If the flood protection structure had been built and maintained to the intended elevation, then no significant overtopping would have occurred. With no overtopping, there would not have been any erosion of the supporting soils behind the

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floodwall. If the potential for formation of a water filled gap between the flood wall and its supporting sheet piling and the adjacent soils had been recognized, then the lateral stability performance would have not been compromised. Similarly, if the potential for under seepage had been recognized and the seepage prevented, then the lateral stability performance would not been further compromised. There is substantial evidence to indicate that the USACE lock expansion EBIA site clearing and underground storage tank removal operations played important roles in initiation of the North Breach and South Breach. The information reviewed by the author provided by the USACE and Washington Group International has been limited. Time has not permitted review of the large number of documents provided by USACE and Washington Group International. The information that is available clearly indicates a high degree of correlation with the site remediation work conducted by WGI in behalf of the USACE at the EBIA sites and the breach locations in the flood protection structure adjacent to the Lower 9th Ward. This remediation work (removal of soils, formation of cavities, vibrations) very probably had important effects on the soils relied upon to provide stability and protection for the flood protection structure. Removal and disturbance of the surface soils overlying the permeable subsoils (marsh layers) would have facilitated the under seepage discussed earlier in this Appendix. In addition, removal of the soils on the canal side of the floodwall would have reduced the lateral stability of the flood protection structure.

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