Saturday, May 14, 2011

"Balance of Harms" Morganza Floodway Opened

Port Townsend, today. US Army Corps of Engineers opened the Morganza Floodway today, thereby saving Baton Rouge from potential flooding, releasing pressure building on the Mississippi during this extraordinary flood.

The Morganza Spillway structure is 4,000 feet in length, with 125 gated bays, capable of a maximum flow of up to 600,000 cubic feet per second (cfs) of water. Located at River Mile 280, 35 miles up stream from Baton Rough, water is now flowing into the Morganza Floodway.

Each gate is capable of flowing 10,000 cubic feet of water each second. As a point of reference, Niagara Falls flows 100,000 cubic feet of water each second. And the "trigger" to open the Morganza, was when the Mississippi River was flowing 1.5 million cubic feet per second!

The floodway, constructed with it's own set of levees, is approximately five miles wide and runs 20 miles south to the Gulf of Mexico.

Double left click on the map below. When the map opens, click on the magnifying glass to expand the full document. Use you horizontal and vertical bars to move the map around. The color code in the upper right hand corner shows the estimated depth of water, released into the floodway.

While the media is quick to point out the lost of crops and structures, affecting approximately 2,500 residents during this event, they fail to mention that every year, written notices are issued to all interests within the floodway, reminding them of the possibility of operation of the floodway. The letter is similar to an older version I located, below.

The decision US Army Corps of Engineers made, is another example of "Balance of Harms," illustrated when the Corps blew up a 2 mile long fuse plug, to open the Bird's Point - New Madrid Floodway last week. The choice between saving a town versus farmland.

Here, the "Balance of Harms" was between Baton Rouge and adjacent industry including a number of refineries, as opposed to flooding farmland affecting approximately 2,500 residents and their homes.

Here is a partial listing of industries and refineries in and around Baton Rouge that were at risk flooding, [barrels per day output]:

  • Alon USA Energy, Krotz Springs, Louisiana: [80,000]
  • Chalmette Refining, Chalmette, Louisiana: [192,500]
  • ConocoPhillips, Belle Chasse, Louisiana: [247,000]
  • Exxon Mobil Corp., Baton Rouge, Louisiana: [504,500]
  • Marathon Oil Corp., Garyville, Louisiana: [436,000]
  • Motiva Enterprises., Convent, Louisiana: [235,000]
  • Motiva Enterprises, Norco, Louisiana: [234,700]
  • Murphy Oil Corp., Meraux, Louisiana: [120,000]
  • Valero Energy Corp., St. Charles Louisiana: [185,000]
And three nuclear facilities were at risk, including:
  • Entergy's 1,176-megawatt Waterford nuclear plant in St. Charles Parish, Louisiana.
  • Entergy's 978-megawatt River Bend nuclear plant in West Feliciana Parish, Louisiana.
  • Entergy's 1,268-megawatt Grand Gulf nuclear station in Clairborne County, Mississippi.
The "Balance of Harm's." Weighting the result of an action versus the result of no action.

See also:
Balance of Harms: The Blast at Bird's Point

Will the Mississippi River Change Course?

Critters 'n Crap


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