The greater New Orleans area faces a triple threat when it comes to sources of flood risk: the Mississippi River, rain and hurricane storm surge. In 2005, Hurricane Katrina brought storm surges between 12 and 15 feet to the New Orleans area. With the combination of torrential rain from Hurricane Katrina and the levee failures, 80 percent of New Orleans was flooded, resulting in one of the worst natural disasters in U.S. history.
In 2012, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers awarded a contract to build three permanent canal closure and pump stations to reduce the risk posed by hurricane storm surges to replace interim control structures that were put in place within a year after Katrina devastated the region. “Caterpillar and Louisiana Cat were able to provide the best solution for the PCCP pump stations,” says Anthony Bertucci, a commissioning manager for M.R. Pittman Group.
The new stations are designed to reduce the risk posed by storm surge from Lake Pontchartrain caused by a hurricane with a one percent chance of occurring in any year—commonly referred to as a 100-year storm.
The three pumping stations combined have 30 15C175-16 gensets, two C27 gensets, and one C18 genset; three Automatic Transfer Switches, three 4160V MV Switchgear, and three 480V LV Switchboards.
“The stations are meant to be totally independent of the grid on power, water and sewerage. It is designed to handle everything on its own,” says Anthony Bertucci, a commissioning manager for M.R. Pittman Group. “What led us to pick Caterpillar for this facility was a combination of economics and long-term reliability. We’ve had a really good relationship with Louisiana Cat personnel on this and past projects.”