Ragtag Levees Leave Midwest Soaking

Locals and towns run disorganized barrier system
By Dustin Lushing,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 22, 2008 10:18 AM CDT
Prison inmate volunteers shore up a levee with sandbags on Saturday, June 21, 2008 north of Foley, Mo.    (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – As the Midwest battles massive flooding, the New York Times looks at the region's patchwork of homemade levees—which fail to meet federal standards and tend to spring unexpected leaks. Bill Clinton's White House advised a uniform levy system 15 years ago, but the report was read and forgotten. “We told them there were going to be more floods like this,” an engineering professor said.

“Everybody likes to go out and shake hands on the levee now and offer sandbags, but that’s not helpful," he added. "This shouldn’t have happened in the first place.” (Read more levees stories.)