Fix the pumps

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Wandering around London Avenue floodgates

Security isn't just bad at 17th Street. The London Avenue floodgates aren't very well secured either.

Here's some pictures from early November, sent to me by Deep Flood. They show a few things:

1) As I mentioned in an earlier post, the fencing on the east engine platform is not finished. That is stil the case. It was supposed to be completed by October 14, but the contractor, M.R. Pittman, is weeks behind on this minor, easy part of the job. In the process, the American people are not getting their money's worth, specifically the $120,000 M.R. Pittman charged for all the fencing on the site.

The consequences are simple: the east engine platform is wide open. People can wander up to the raised floor and look around. There, they'll find the gate to the engine area unsecured:

This gives us a behind-the-scenes look at the problems with the hydraulic engines, mentioned in the Times-Picayune's latest article about the vibration problems at the floodgates:
"Not all the new pumps pulsate at unacceptable levels when they're run, but some of the pumps at all three canals are experiencing the problem at different levels, St. Germain said.
'We now believe we've isolated the issue to the hydraulic motors, and we're focusing on those at present, and our contractors are working with us to get to the bottom of this,' he said.
Those contractors include the Texas-based company that manufactured the motors.
Once a cause is identified, St. Germain said, a solution will be devised and implemented."
The Texas-based company is Rineer Hydraulics.

Thanks to the lack of security, Deep Flood got a look at the work on two of the hydraulic power unit engines (these are what provide the power to turn the hydraulic motors mentioned above):

2) It's not just the east engine platform that's easy to access. Take a look at the discharge manifold on the west side:

3) A ladder's not the only way to get on to the west side equipment. The Corps and the contractors leave this gangway in place permanently, rather than moving it onshore at the end of each days' work:

This allows access to all six west side pumps and their very expensive instrumentation. The Corps should really have M.R. Pittman put this gangway on the shore each evening. Considering how many cranes they've got on the site, it wouldn't be that much trouble.

One would think a military organization like the Corps would be far more concerned with the security of vital, expensive equipment. But apparently, they're not.


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