U.S. Engineers Address Pump Corrosion for Hurricane Season

The New Orleans district of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) is partnering with the U.S. Navy’s salvage and diving supervisor to evaluate corrosion damage as part of a plan to ensure sufficient pumping capacity is available during a tropical weather event.

Under this partnership, officials are installing temporary pumps at the London Avenue Permanent Canal Closure and Pumps (PCCP) as a precautionary measure for delivering sufficient pumping capacity. Site preparation and installation of crane mats began this spring in order to make the outfall canals ready for this summer’s hurricane season.

In February 2023, USACE and its partners identified corrosion as the primary failure mode for pump at the London Avenue site. This pump underwent repair and was returned to service before the start of the 2023 hurricane season.

Although there is no indication that failure of any other pump is imminent, USACE and its construction contractor, PCCP JV, are inspecting and repairing each of the remaining 16 PCCP pumps, as needed, to confirm their reliability for this upcoming hurricane season.

The PCCP program is designed to provide a permanent and more sustainable measure for reducing the risk of a 100-year-level storm surge entering the city’s outfall canals.

To date, nine of the 16 pumps have been inspected and, after minor repairs, returned to operational status. Each of the inspected pumps exhibited significantly less corrosion than was identified on the first London Avenue pump.

Because two other pumps there remain uninspected, USACE has initiated a process for installing contingency pumps to provide an additional 1,000 cubic feet per second (28.3 cubic meters per second) in pumping capacity. These pumps will remain on site until the remaining two pumps have been inspected and repaired, if necessary.

Once all pumps have been inspected and the underlying corrosion causes identified, USACE and the PCCP JV say they plan to develop a path forward for long-term repairs to ensure reliable and sustainable pumps that meet the 35-year design specifications.

According to USACE, this subsequent work will occur outside of hurricane season to minimize the risk of reduced pumping capacity during a tropical weather event.

Source: U.S. Defense Visual Information Distribution Service, www.dvidshub.net.

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