Thursday, December 30, 2010

Flood Plug Minds the Gap

From Wall Street Journal...

"The humble sandbag has a rival in the fight against floods: a 400-ton water-filled tube that plugs holes in levees like a giant wad of chewing gum.

Sandbags are used to shore up the thousands of miles of U.S. levees--man made earthen barriers that shield people and property from swelling floodwaters. When a levee is breached, even the biggest sandbags can only slow the erosion of the structure.

Now comes the Portable Lightweight Ubiquitous Gasket, or PLUG, the first tool designed to repair a breach while powerful floodwaters are still coursing through it.

Developed by the Army Corps of Engineers, the 104-foot-long, vinyl-coated tube can be transported by helicopter to a failing levee and filled with floodwater on the spot using pumps. The resulting sausage-shaped behemoth gets sucked into the breach by the force of escaping water, sealing off the flow until permanent repairs can be made."

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