By Sgt. Noshoba Davis, Louisiana National Guard Public Affairs Office
PINEVILLE – Louisiana National Guardsmen are working alongside the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the 5th Levee District to conduct 24-hour levee patrols in the parishes of Concordia, East Carroll, Madison and Tensas to inspect for any issues caused by the winter river flooding. These patrols started on Jan. 8.
“We have the National Guard out here with us to assist with monitoring the territory on the levees since there is so much ground to cover,” said Steven Evans, a construction controller with the US Army Corps of Engineers.
Approximately 200 miles of levees are being checked for leaks, sand boils and seepage around the clock.
“The younger Soldiers are getting to see and understand exactly what the Louisiana Guard is here for. They get to see it’s about the community and protecting the people, letting them know that we are here for them,” said Sgt. Aerrial Fredricks, of Monroe, a chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear specialist with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 528th Engineer Battalion, 225th Engineer Brigade.
The Guardsmen, working with the Corps, are learning how to identify problems that may arise during a flood. They have found 54 sand boils, 25 slides and 24 seepage areas along the entire length of the levee, and are monitoring each one, but they haven’t seen any major issues.
Sand boils are caused by a difference in pressure on the two sides of the levee. These can cause erosion in the levee by creating a pipe through the levee where sand and soil moves through it with the water.
“I’m getting to learn and see the cause and effects that flood waters can have on a levee and the surrounding areas. I’m learning how to identify the problems and how serious that problem is,” said Spc. Carlton Ford of Newellton, a construction equipment repairer with Detachment 1, 921st Engineer Company, 528th Engineer Battalion. “It makes me feel good being from around here, and getting to see what it takes to protect my hometown during events like this.”