Fix the pumps

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

700 gallons

Updated with important information 11/29/06. See below

I last wrote about oil spills on October 26th. Since that time, four more spills have been reported to the National Response Center. The NRC spill data is current through November 12.

The earlier post detailed how to look up information about oil spills on the National Response Center website, as well as many other bits of data about spills, so I won't go into that again.

These latest reports show spills occurring at a rate of once a week. The reports indicate that the contractors don't appear to be learning from their mistakes, with the same reason (fitting came loose while a pump was pulled) being given on November 2nd, and then again one week later.

Below you'll find the details of the four reports. These reports bring the known total of spills at all three floodgate sites to eight, seven of them reported to the NRC. I detailed the eighth, unreported spill in the earlier post. When combined with the four earlier spills, the Corps and its contractors are responsible for at least 700 gallons of oil spills at all three sites since August.

October 22, 2006

"Quantity released: 300 gallons
Description of incident: The caller is reporting a release of materials into the 17th Street Canal from a hydraulic pump due to equipment failure."

This spill was called in by the Corps.

October 31, 2006
"Quantity released: 50 gallons
Description of incident: The caller reports the RP [responsible party] was doing construction on a pump station of an internal drainage canal when a fitting dislodged on a hydraulic oil hose which resulted in the discharge of material."

This spill was called in by Boh Brothers.

Here's a WWL-TV webcam picture from October 31 showing a pump pulled on the west side of the site:

November 2, 2006

"Quantity released: 20 gallons
Description of incident: The caller states that while removing a pump for inspection and repair, oil spilled into the 17th Street Canal when the pump was lifted up out of the water."

This spill was called in by MWI, the pump manufacturer. MWI has had employees on site nearly nonstop for months now. They have their own line item on the agenda for the weekly status meetings.

Here's a picture showing a pulled pump the next day, November 3rd:

Here's a detail of the pump with the worker:

November 7, 2006

"Quantity released: 50 gallons
Description of incident: Caller stated a fitting came off of a pump as it was being pulled out of the 17th Street Canal. This resulted in the release of material into the canal."

This spill was called in by the same MWI employee as on November 2.

Here's a picture from the following day, showing the same pump pulled as on November 3rd (I can't remember if it had been put back in between November 3rd and November 8th, but I'm pretty sure it was):

11/29/06 Update
The spills keep coming. Because the National Response Center is about two weeks behind in putting reports up on their website, it takes a while to learn this stuff. But we now have positive confirmation of spills at all three sites, with the first reported spill at London Ave. on November 13th as detailed below.

There are obviously very, very serious problems with the hydraulic oil lines and power units on all 38 hydraulic pumps. If this is the kind of stuff that is happening under sunny skies with no stress on the system almost six months after their installation, will these pumps work properly if they're really needed in a hurricane?

[Update, November 30th: I've removed some overheated verbiage that was here yesterday because my reasoning didn't necessarily support my conclusions - yet.]

The Corps has to level with the public and the rest of the country. Now.

Here's the latest spill report:

November 13, 2006

"Quantity released: 10 gallons
Description of incident: The caller states that there is leak of hydraulic oil at the temporary pump station due to equipment failure. The material is discharging into a drainage canal."

This spill was reported by an MWI employee


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