Several of the levees that flooded New Orleans may have been built with shoddy materials or by contractors who took shortcuts to save money, [Seed told Congress].
About a dozen people, including engineers and contractors, made the allegations of poor workmanship in recent weeks to investigators probing the levee failures, [Seed said].
The complaints focus on two canals where levees topped with flood walls were built in stages over the past 15 years. One of the claims is that contractors used steel sheets - which were driven into the levees to prevent water seepage - that were shorter than what was called for in designs. If true, that could have made the levees weak and prone to failure.
Other tipsters complained that inferior materials, such as porous soil, were used to construct the levees.
Robert Bea, another University of California, Berkeley professor working with Seed, said in an interview that he talked on the phone with two women who said they had specific information from their late husbands on construction shortcuts taken on the levees.
Seed said other investigators received similar complaints...