NewsNation | August 28, 2012
>> reporter: much. isaac will put new orleans new $15 billion levee system to the test for the first time since katrina. one major problem that we are telling you about, the levee is only eight feet well above the six-foot storm surge expected in some areas. ken holder is with the army corps of engineers . ken, i want to bring you in here, it is interesting, what we experienced, we started the show ten minutes ago with a band of rain that came through. and you say that this break we're seeing right now may be a blessing in disguise here.
>> it absolutely is. first off, any time you find a tropical storm or hurricane, you'll deal with feeder bands of rain. the feeder bands help the interior drainage system . what happens with the pump system is the city has pumps and we have pumps that pump out the canals and pump out to lake pontchartrain . the city pumps it out to us and we move it to lake pontchartrain . none of the canals we have were there when we had katrina. so the idea is water comes in and comes out to us. we drop the gate. the storm surge cannot enter the city anymore and we pump it out from there.
>> reporter: but you have concern if this storm does hover over this area, particularly jefferson parish , placquemines parish, they won't be able to pump the water out if you're seeing three to four inches an hour come down.
>> if it were sustained that's when we would really start to have -- $$and that's a possibility.
>> it is a possibility. the army corps of engineers has people co-located as well with the cities and parishes to sync our pumping out.
>> reporter: the big question is will the levees hold up? why should we have confidence in the army corps of engineers and what's there seven years ago almost to the day later?
>> i have to tell you what happened dur kag trina, what you had was a system in name only. there was not really a system in place. parts and pieces were in place. congress, two administrations verified the need and made the commitment to the men and women of louisiana and new orleans to make it and get it right. they gave us all the money upfront. with that we built the entire system that's going to stand.
>> reporter: we had pictures down in the lower ninth ward and i was at the 17th street canal , both infamous locations we will never forget there, but i know also in placquemines parish it is not complete. the full project is not done. there's still, as i understand, about a billion dollars still left to be spent?
>> there's $4 billion to be spent throughout the system and in different places.
>> reporter: why has the money not been spent?
>> the whole system is finished and ready to go. we have some construction gaps and construction closures we have to do. the system itself is ready to battle a 100-year storm.
>> reporter: i can tell in your confidence we are in the right spot. i appreciate you coming on an answering the questions. these are tough questions that need to be answered.
>> please have us back anymore.
>> reporter: absolutely. thank you for your