Author: Rebekah Mechtensimer, Reporting for the Pump Industry
After Hurricane Katrina, what started as a temporary solution to construct interim closures at the mouths of New Orleans’ three outfall canals became a permanent and more sustainable solution. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, as part of the Hurricane and Storm Damage Risk Reduction System, completed the Permanent Canal Closures and Pumps (PCCP) project in December 2017 (it had started in May 2013).
One contributor to the success of this project was ABB, who provided 17 vertical gear motors that power massive pumps and 17 ACS 1000i and 5000i medium voltage drives to control the pumps’ start-up. While attending WEFTEC18 in New Orleans last week, I had the opportunity to attend a tour with ABB of the largest of the three stations – 17th Street Canal.
We went through the station, all the way from intake to discharge. To give you an idea on just how massive this project was, here are some stats on what these stations can endure. The PCCP facilities can withstand 155 mph of sustained winds. Ten of the pumps are rated at 1.2 million GPM, and the other seven pumps are rated at 400,000 GPM. These can fill an Olympic-sized swimming pool in approximately 3.63 seconds! The stations also have safe housing for staff who stay at the facility during an emergency in addition to on-site fuel storage capacity which would allow the station to run for five days straight. These pump stations are said to be the most complex pump stations in Louisiana.
The tour was very impressive! Seeing all the equipment needed to prevent another natural disaster was eye opening. I was amazed that the station was built in a way that it could become able to take on other stations if needed. They are able to do this because they use the smaller pumps, but have the larger pumps for back-ups. Talk about thinking ahead! The operators also cycle each piece of equipment at least once a month to ensure everything is in working order.
Thank you to ABB and the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority ‐ East for taking us on this awesome tour!