Drip, drip, drip
But that still leaves 15 of the 40 large size (60") hydraulic pumps rusting away in the brackish Lake Pontchartrain waters. 9 of those 15 are at the Orleans Avenue site:
There's one at the London Avenue site:
And, with the assumed return of pump W9, five at 17th Street:
With 9 of the 15 rusty pumps at the Orleans Avenue site, the chances were much greater of an Orleans Ave. pump being the next one to spill oil. That's exactly what happened on August 10, 2011, according to this spill report from the National Response Center (the Corps seems to be improving their spill reporting):
Location: "ORLEANS AVE INTERIM CANAL STRUCTURE PUMPING STATION"
Description: "CALLER STATED THERE IS A LEAK FROM A PUMP AT THE PUMPING STATION. CALLER STATED THERE MAY BE A CORROSIVE ELEMENT THAT IS CAUSING THE SPILL. THE SPILL IS WITHIN THE STRUCTURE OF THE FACILITY. CALLER STATED THERE IS NO SPILL TO LAKE PONTCHARTRAIN."
Released material: HYDRAULIC OIL"
Let's parse that. First, the only corrosive element causing the spill was salt water.
Secondly, there was most definitely a spill to Lake Pontchartrain. The waters within the canals aren't somehow separated from the lake with some invisible barrier - it's all the same thing: navigable waters of the United States. Under the law, if there's an oil spill of any amount into those waters, it must be reported to the National Response Center.
Anyhow, the Corps initially claimed the spill was 20 gallons and that their spill response contractor - QRI - had been summoned. Activities like this always portend a removal of a pump.
Indeed, a pump was pulled out from the Orleans Avenue site: E3. Here's pictures of E3 out:
Steve Beatty tells me the pump remains out while New Orleans gets rain from Tropical Storm Lee on September 2. If it came out sometime around August 10th, it should be back in around September 10th.
However, that still will leave 80% of the Orleans Avenue pumps dangerously close to failure should they be needed during this hurricane season. The Corps could have issued multiple repair contracts for these pump repairs and had them finished a long time ago. Instead they stuck with a solitary small business vendor (Healtheon, with Conhagen doing all the actual repair work) for the last two years. Combine that with the sections of the Orleans Avenue canal levees possessing Safe Water Elevations of zero feet which were left unremediated this spring, and the Orleans Avenue canal is not looking so well prepared.
Steve Beatty of The Lens contributed to this report.
Labels: Rusty pumps