Hunt for causes after corrosion found in New Orleans flood protection system

Hunt for causes after corrosion found in New Orleans flood protection system

There was a long gap between when it became apparent there was a problem to when it was diagnosed, which the Corps attributes to initial false leads and the complicated process of inspecting the pumps’ interior.

In July 2021, the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East, which oversees the system on the east bank, was carrying out routine maintenance at the London Avenue Canal station and saw a pump overheating. It notified state authorities, who alerted the Corps, said authority regional director Kelli Chandler.

Early theories included the possibility that the pump station building had sunk and the pump had fallen out of line, or that the temperature sensor may have been faulty – both of which turned out to be incorrect. After troubleshooting failed, it was determined in May 2022 that the pump needed a deeper inspection.

The Corps “does not have the necessary in-house equipment and resources to dewater, inspect and repair the pump,” said Boyett, so it had to hire another company, Lakey Inc., to perform those tasks.

The system had enough capacity for last year’s hurricane season, according to the Corps.

Open gates allow water from Lake Ponchartrain to enter the 17th Street Canal at the Permanent Canal Closures and Pumps (PCCP) in New Orleans, Thursday, May 31, 2018. The pumps are only operational when the gates are closed for hurricanes. The pump station is the last project of the Corps’ $14.5 billion to upgrade the hurricane protection system.

‘Everything necessary’

When the bay holding the pump could be drained and the pump taken apart, corrosion was determined as the cause in February, which led to concerns that there was a systemic problem throughout all pumps, said Boyett.

Inspections elsewhere have been underway, starting with the smaller pumps first at Orleans and 17th Street. Minor corrosion was found at two Orleans pumps, with one already cleaned up and the other being addressed. Work is also ongoing at the London Avenue pump that first came to authorities’ attention.

“The Corps has assured us that they will do everything necessary to move water, whether it’s temporary pumps, whether it’s different alternative measures,” said Chandler. “They feel confident that they can move the water out of the canals if we have an event.”


About Mary Weyand 20055 Articles
Mary founded Scoop Tour with an aim to bring relevant and unaltered news to the general public with a specific view point for each story catered by the team. She is a proficient journalist who holds a reputable portfolio with proficiency in content analysis and research. With ample knowledge about the Automobile industry, she also contributes her knowledge for the Automobile section of the website.

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