Fix the pumps

Friday, September 15, 2006

Other roofs in need of repair

Lets take a look at the extent of the problem with the unrepaired roofs at the S&WB pumping stations. The Corps agreed to make these repairs back in October, 2005 under emergency authorizations from their headquarters, and then agreed again to do so with money from the Third Katrina Supplemental. They have yet to be repaired.

Station 11, on Orleans' west bank. This station drains English Turn and Lower Coast Algiers. Nearly every piece of control equipment and many of the pump motors inside the station have plastic tarps over them.

Station 13, also on Orleans' west bank. This large station drains much of New Orleans' west bank. I drew the red and green line. Red indicates where there is no copper sheathing, green indicates sheathing. Every pump motor and control box inside the station has tarps over it. Constant Duty pump CD4 actually has a picnic umbrella protecting it from the roof leaks. Here is one of the pump motors inside Station 13:

Station 5, in the Lower Ninth Ward. The building on the right, which is the main pump house, is the one with the roof damage. That is temporary tarp or something along all the peaks. Much of it has blown away since it was installed just after the storm. A generator set used to get the pumps started inside the pump house has a tarp over it. For reference, the building on the left is the control room, which also flooded, but did not lose its roof.

If only the national media crawling all over that neighborhood during the one-year anniversary a couple of weeks back had just trained their cameras on the northern edge...

And finally, another shot inside Station 10, in New Orleans East. This is the control room. Would you feel safe running these controls during a rainstorm?

Keep in mind the irony of this happening at Station 10, which was built in 1989. The control room and all the electrical equipment that is now getting wet is elevated about 25 feet above the ground to keep them from getting wet during flooding.

How widespread is the problem? Here's the Sewerage & Water Board's assessment of the status of their pumping stations, as of June 21 (this document came out of the City Council hearing on June 22). The column on the very left indicates which stations the S&WB considers in need of roof repair, and how critical that need is. 14 of 23 stations are on that list. Four of them are considered a "1" (highest priority): 10, 11, 13, and 14. You've seen the condition of stations 10, 11, and 13 above. I think anyone would agree with the S&WB on the criticality of the repairs at those stations. For your reference, Station 14 is also in New Orleans East. Here's a picture:

The red and white building in the center is the control house that, I assume, has the unrepaired roof damage. Unfortunately, I couldn't get high enough to see the roof and I wasn't able to get into station 14 the day I took this picture in August. I don't know if the roof has been repaired here, but I doubt it. However the picture is instructive because it gives an idea of the elevation of the equipment inside Station 10 just down the road on Hayne Blvd. The S&WB was very, very smart in the construction of these stations west of the Industrial Canal (there's a twin to 14, Station 16, over by Lakefront Airport), installing permanent generators and elevating nearly everything. Here's Station 16 (the generator has been moved off its platform on the left side for repair or replacement):

Station 20, over by the old Macfrugals, also has its critical equipment elevated. But it also has roof leaks. One of the control panels inside its elevated control rooms is covered in plastic sheeting. There's actualy pieces of the roof all over the site at 20. And the generator at 20, which is in its own building and at ground level, is completely smashed. Here's a picture of that generator from the Orleans Parish pump station PIR. As of a couple of weeks ago, nothing has changed. There's still mud in that building, which you can see in the lower left of the photo.

I don't know if both pumps at 20 are working. Last I heard, one of them had a bad shaft, but that was months ago. Sorry, but the pictures of 20 are still on my camera (yes, I am a Luddite still using film).

To see the Corps' assessments of the roofs, just page through Appendix D in the Orleans Parish Pumping Station PIR. It has all the details. Just as an example, here's the assessment of station 13's roof:

"According to the operator, approximately 90% of the copper metal roof blew off. The estimated leaking part of the roof dimensions is approximately 200’ X 50’. Repair with a new metal roof is recommended."


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