More than half the 122 US levees cited for being in disrepair after Hurricane Katrina still need to be fixed, according to Army Corps of Engineers data obtained by USA Today—with 18 states and Puerto Rico having levees considered unreliable in major floods. The worst offenders are Washington and California, where levees with “unacceptable maintenance deficiencies” protect densely populated cities like Seattle and Sacramento.
State and local authorities were given a year to correct problems after a February 2007 federal review. The Corps, looking to speed repairs, is barring access to recovery funds should problems occur. Residents of the affected areas, who could be forced to buy flood insurance, “have every right to be concerned,” the levee-safety program’s director said. “Those deficiencies need to be corrected.” (Read more levees stories.)