Fix the pumps

Sunday, January 28, 2007

January 27th storm

It rained in New Orleans for most of the day Saturday. It was a relatively light rain, and it was over by about 5 PM. We got between 1.5 and 2 inches.

I drove around between 2 and 3 in the afternoon. Here's what I saw (you can see a map of the pump stations at this previous post):

Station 1: I didn't check which pumps were running, because the Palmetto canal (on the discharge of the station) was only about half full. Were I forced to guess, I'd say there was about 3100 or 4100 cfs going into the canal.

Despite not finding that out, I did get an answer to a question I've had: who is actually doing the bearing replacement work at stations 1, 6, and 19. The $1.1 million contract for supply and installation of those bearings was awarded to IPS of Lousiana in Kenner, LA. From what I could tell about IPS from their website, they would only be supplying the bearings, not installing them. Yesterday, I saw a pickup truck from Conhagen Industries, who also has an office in Kenner. According to the Conhagen website, they do the exact sort of work required for bearing replacements on pumps.

Station 2: Only pumps A & B (550 cfs each) were running. Pumps C & D (1000 cfs each) were idle.

Station 3: Only pumps A & B (550 cfs each) were running. Pumps C, D, & E (1000 cfs each) were idle. The staff gauge at the station showed an elevation of less than one foot in the London Avenue canal.

Station 4: Only pumps 1 and 2 (320 cfs each) were running. Pumps C, D, & E (1000 cfs each) were idle.

I also checked the staff guage at the Mirabeau Ave. bridge over the London Avenue canal. The Mirabeau Ave. bridge is the bridge closest to the weak point in the canal, which is about 4000 feet north of station 3. That gauge also showed less than a foot of elevation.

Looking at that gauge and the adjacent electronic level gauge, along with the spraypainted depth markers on the inside of the canal walls, made me realize how little confidence the Corps has in the London Avenue canal walls. The Safe Water Level of four feet, which is shown on those spraypainted lines (along with depths of five and six feet), corresponds to the top of the levees and the very base of the walls. That is, the Corps doesn't want water even touching the walls of the canal. This is remarkable to think about when one walks along the canal: the walls -which are about ten feet tall - are actually useless.

Other notes:
1) The five eastern pumps at the Orleans Avenue canal remain pulled out. They've now been out of the canal for over four months. Here's the first picture I got of them back in early October:

They remain in the exact same positions.

2) All six western pumps at the 17th Street floodgates (from the original dozen) are out of service for some reason. I noted this in my recent post, but at that time, I could only see the ones on WWL's webcam. My visit out to the site allowed me to see that the elbows atop each of the six pumps are disconnected from the main discharge piping. I don't know why this is.

3) The siphon breakers on the new quartet of pumps on the west side at 17th Street (about which I wrote a bit in my last update) have now been installed. But the main discharge pipe for those pumps remains unfinished.

4) Finally, there was no work happening at any of the three floodgate sites on Saturday in the middle of the afternoon, presumably because it was raining a bit. So much for urgency.


Post a Comment

<< Home

Go to older posts Go to newer posts