Army Corps of Engineers began repair on New Orleans pumping stations after corrosion discovered

Published: Mar. 24, 2023 at 7:54 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - With hurricane season just over two months away, the Army Corps of Engineers has begun work to repair New Orleans pumping stations after a surprise corrosion problem was discovered at the London Canal Station.

The pump’s life expectancy is supposed to be 30 more years, but one is already facing major repairs or a possible replacement.

Crews have pulled pump number one and were removing water underneath pump number five for a camera inspection after one of the pumps overheated and shut down last year.

“When we looked inside, we saw corrosion well beyond what it should be at this time of its design life,” Ricky Boyett with the USACOE said.

The pumps, each capable of moving 1,800 cubic feet of water per second, were designed to last 35 years and installed only five years ago.

“Anytime a pump fails there is a level of concern,” said Kelli Chandler with the Southeast Louisiana Flood Authority.

The corps has inspected two pumps at the 17th Street Canal station as well as two at Orleans Avenue. The pumps needed some adjustments, but none were dealing with corrosion problems as severe as pump number one at London Avenue.

“17th Street, they were looked at and they can operate without risk this hurricane season,” Boyett said. “We made some minor repairs at Orleans and they were okay but we decided to make some adjustments.”

Corps officials say at this point they believe they can repair the damage that has been uncovered in time for the official start of hurricane season on June 1, but if any more problems are found, temporary pumps may need to be brought in.

The cause of the corrosion has not been identified.

“It could be anything,” Boyett said. “From construction to the water to electric current in the water. It could be epoxy. We are considering everything right now.”

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