Fix the pumps

Friday, September 15, 2006

Good luck for the next 495 days, Plaquemines Parish

The Corps is moving to finally fix the Plaquemines Parish pumping stations, over a year after Katrina trashed the entire system. They put this solicitation synopsis out today. The solicitation and Technical Data Package will probably go out tomorrow. This work is based on the Plaquemines Parish pumping station PIR, approved January 15, 2006.

This is a good thing, albeit extremely late in coming.

Among the details:

-There will be work on 15 of the 16 stations in the parish.
-Response date for the solicitation from bidders isn't until October 30th.
-And the best part (this is a direct quote): "Estimated time of completion for this project is 450 calendar days after notice to proceed is issued"

That puts the repairs on schedule for completion - assuming issuance of a contract on November 8, 2006, which is very optimistic - some time in early February, 2008. So much for the supposed emergency we in southeast Louisiana are still under.

Now, Plaquemines has managed to restore much of its drainage capacity, but it did so with toothpicks, spit, and duct tape. And it did it on its own, with very little help from the Feds. Now they are being told to wait over a year for complete restoration. This is unconscionable. These repairs shold have been taking place a year ago. By the time the Corps' contractors are done, Plaquemines will have been without a fully functioning drainage system for almost 2-1/2 years.

At the very least, I think the tens of thousands of people who have decided to return to Plaquemines - as well as the many personnel who work at the refineries and the Belle Chasse Naval Air Station-Joint Reserve Base - deserve a little more than a brief mention on a very obscure Corps webpage. Shouldn't there at least be a press release with a schedule of work for each station, so people can tell when their neighborhood will get their drainage back to pre-Katrina levels permanently?

To all of you out in America who assume that the government will take help repair your essential services after a disaster rips away your ability to do so, take this as fair warning - you are expendable.


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