Sand Boils and Dam Failure? #scflood

Sand Boils and Dam Failure? #scflood October 6, 2015

Christian LeBlanc (Cajun architect, when he isn’t being your Sunday school teacher) inquired if sand boils might be a factor in the dam failures in central South Carolina right now.

And what might a sand boil be?  I’d never heard of them either.  But curiously, I said, we’d noticed this strange thing while walking around the neighborhood Sunday: In the cracks between the pavement, the sand wasn’t just saturated with water, the water was bubbling.

Christian gave the virtual knowing-nod — yep, sounds like sand boils.

I know nothing about this strange thing, but apparently it matters quite a lot to the integrity of your dam (or your levee, as they have down in swampriverland).  Here are the videos he recommended by way of tutorial:

Here’s a nice simple handout about levee safety, which is also dam safety.

And here are some sand boil themed illustrations of why we double, triple, quadruple love the National Guard.

May 14, 2011:

Louisiana National Guardsman Spc. Allen Cormier of Central, La., feels the ground under the water for signs of a sand boil on the west side of the Mississippi River levee outside of Vidalia, La., May 14. More than 25 members of the 225th Engineer Brigade have been working 24 hours a day searching for sand boils and looking for seepage along portions of the 72 miles of levee that protect Concordia Parish from the brimming Mississippi River.

File:Sandboil search continues in Concordia Parish 110514-A-ZD968-001.jpg

May 16, 2011:

TALLULAH, Louisiana — A sand boil was discovered and addressed with sandbags here. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has hundreds of personnel in the field everyday inspecting levees. (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers photo by Howard Zeigler)

File:Sand boil discovered in Tallulah, Louisiana.jpg

Both photos and captions courtesy of Wikimedia, click the dates for details.

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