Geology studies revealed that New Orleans is in danger of being under waters again. As it is an already know fact that the land in the area is dropping below the water line, scientists have now reached the conclusion that industry may add up to this process and even affect measures taken to save the city.
The technical approach was to use radar technology to study what happens below the ground. Thus it seems that industrial constructions, as oil refineries, chemical complexes, and power plants are overusing the groundwater.
The gradual sinking into the Gulf of Mexico has been carefully observed for three years. What has been discovered is that two industrial complexes had higher subsidence rates than the inhabited area. In these industrial zones, the rate was one to two inches per year, whereas in residential areas the subsidence was only 1/10 to ¼ inches a year.
Moreover, both industrial facilities are placed close to infrastructure built to prevent floods. New Orleans is a frontline for hurricanes. Thus, it is imperative for levees to be erected in this area.
Radar images show that levees built after the Hurricane Katrina were sinking as fast as 2 inches each year. The barrier created after the hurricane costs $1.1 billion and it’s nearly 2 miles long. This expensive barrier is sinking because of its vicinity to the industrial area.
The power plant in question has been working since the 1960s. The facility is using underground water for its cooling processes. Being as old as this, the company owning the plant decided to deactivate it. But they also plan to build a new one – a smaller one – in the same area.
The company’s representative declared they were not aware of any correlation between their facility and the subsidence of New Orleans.
Another industrial area with accelerated subsidence is in the western part of the city, the location of an oil refinery and chemical plants.
Even if the companies have denied knowledge of these facts, all scientists agree that there is a clear connection between the use of underground water and subsidence. This effect was known and proven long before the publishing of the present study.
Industrial companies are now expected to take measures to prevent future subsidence – even if slight continuous sinking is something that cannot be avoided.
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