Corps of Engineers: Digging near levees is causing seepage from spillway opening

ST. CHARLES PARISH, La. -- The Army Corps of Engineers has opened 168 of the 350 bays that make up the Bonnet Carré Spillway as of Friday afternoon.

Those 168 bays are moving 142,000 cubic feet of water per second to relieve pressure on the levee system and the swollen Mississippi River.

Corps spokesman Matt Roe said 10-20 more bays will be open over the next few days as the river starts to level off.

One problem that inspectors are finding is people digging too close to the levees, which can cause water to seep underneath the levee.

Roe said anyone who needs to dig or excavate within 1,500 feet of a levee needs to check with his or her local levee board before doing so.

"As the river rises some limitations are put in place, but when the river is above 15 feet at the Carrollton gauge all excavation within 1,500 feet of the levees needs to stop because it can affect the stability of the levee," Roe said. "If anyone sees any digging or excavation close to the levees contact their local levee board or the Corps of Engineers."