NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) – With the start of hurricane season less than two weeks away, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is quickly installing temporary pumps at the London Avenue Canal.
Ricky Boyett, a spokesman for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, says sensors for the one of the pumps at the London Street Canal went off in February, shutting the pump down.
“When we pulled it, we noticed the corrosion,” Boyett explained. “The corrosion did two things: one, we’ve got to get that pump repaired, but we also now have to look to make sure if it’s a single issue or systemic.”
Crews responded by inspecting all three pump stations.
“Sixteen of seventeen pumps are online and ready to go,” Boyett said. “The one that we’re working on is pump one. We should have the repairs in place by the first of June, and with that, the pump stations will do what they need to do.”
The pumps’ job is to deliver sufficient pumping capacity during a weather event, like a hurricane.
“Every drop of water the Sewage and Water Board is able to put into the canal, we can take out,” Boyett said. “We’re putting the temporary pumps in to make sure we have that capacity, so that if there is a hurricane, we don’t have increased risk as we make our repairs.”
It’s all about preparation on a timeline.
“Everything that we’re doing is really focused on being ready for hurricane season on day one,” Boyett said. “Fortunately, as the schedule is working out, we’re actually going to have pump one’s repairs done by [June 1], and then we’ll have our testing done on [June 5].”
According to Boyett, although they’re installing the temporary pumps, they may not need them if repairs are made to the permanent structure on schedule.
Long-term repairs will be made after hurricane season, Boyett says, to minimize the risk of reduced pumping capacity during a storm.