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U. S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center: Rapid Repair of Levee Breaches

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In 2007 the U.S. Department of Homeland Security provided initial funding for the development and demonstration of a rapid repair of levee breaches RRLB concept. Following successful concept development and testing, funding for the program was continued and has evolved to include multiple components, including the portable lightweight ubiquitous gasket, the rapidly emplaced protection for earthen levees, and the rapidly emplaced hydraulic arch barrier. RRLB devices are primarily tubes made of high strength fabrics designed to be partially filled with water and then floated into a levee breach, which they plug and thus stop or greatly reduce water flow through the breach. Initial studies were accomplished at the facilities of the Coastal and Hydraulics Laboratory CHL, U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center ERDC, Vicksburg, Mississippi. These were followed by additional large-scale experiments and demonstrations that were successfully completed at the Hydraulic Engineering Research Unit HERU in Stillwater, Oklahoma, in September 2008. A series of small-scale experiments conducted in 2008 and 2009 led to the development of concepts of operation for delivering and emplacing RRLB components. In November 2009, the RRLB team completed another round of large-scale experiments and demonstrations at HERU designed to test potential emplacement methods and improvements to previous designs. Following this, efforts were focused on site selection, design, and construction of a large-scale levee breach test facility located at ERDC s Waterways Experiment Station in Vicksburg, Mississippi. The facility is the only one of its kind in the world and will allow researchers to validate results of small-and mid-scale experiments. It could also be used to train RRLB emplacement teams. In December of 2010, a full-scale 40 ft wide breach with an estimated 2,000 ft3s discharge through it was successfully sealed during a public demonstration.

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  • Civil Engineering

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