Fix the pumps

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Still to come

A while back I reported briefly on what I believe was a massive outage of the Corps' control and monitoring systems (called "SCADA" systems) along all three New Orleans outfall canals in December, 2009.

The entry was based on a massive amount of SCADA data (multiple gigabytes) I received through FOIA requests of the Corps New Orleans District. The data covers about two years' worth of readouts from every level gauge and every sensor on every pump along the the London Avenue canal. It also covers about a year's worth of the equivalent data on the 17th Street and Orleans Avenue canals. The London Avenue data runs from mid-2008 through mid-2010, while the 17th Street and Orleans Avenue data runs from mid-2009 through mid-2010. The data is logged every ten seconds.

Due to how the Corps preserves and overwrites this data, I believe I am probably the only person that now has this information. It includes run data for four of the six storm-related closures of the Interim Closure Structures since 2006. That is, I've got data every 10 seconds during the two closures at the London Avenue canal in September and November, 2009, as well as the two 2008 closures at London Avenue (Gustav and Ike). The data doesn't include the 17th Street closures during Gustav and Ike. I've also got data on every time the pumps were turned on during the mid-2008 or mid-2009 (depending on canal) through mid-2010 period noted above. This likely represents the only true data on how the Corps' lakefront pumps actually run. I should be able to match it up with the pump logs I've obtained from the New Orleans Sewerage & Water Board, showing how much water was pouring into the canals when the Corps pumps were supposed to be pulling it out.

Prior to this, the only other run data released to the public was a highly redacted set of partial data for the 17th Street and London Avenue canals during Gustav and Ike, sent to Molly Peterson as part of a FOIA request for her 2009 "Pumps Under Pressure" report. With my SCADA data, I'll be able to see if the data sent to her was valid.

I'll be bringing out some analysis around this soon. It's a lot of data to crunch, so it takes a while. But maybe this will answer some questions that have lingered for a very long time...


  • In the meantime, the Times-Pic just published their debris story:

    The 3' chunk of wood is a hell of a photo. Imagine that decaying and leaving a big void in the middle of the levee.

    By Blogger Clay, at June 12, 2011 11:46 AM  

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