[StBernard] Corps turns over pumping stations to Lake Borgne Levee District in St. Bernard Parish

Westley Annis Westley at da-parish.com
Wed Feb 11 08:25:30 EST 2009

St. Bernard pumping capacity up to pre-Katrina levels

New stations elevated and expected to well protect the parish

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers transferred control of three rebuilt
pumping stations to the Lake Borgne Basin Levee District in a Monday
ceremony meant to highlight that the federal government has elevated new
pump engines and components and returned St. Bernard Parish to 100 percent
of its pre-Katrina drainage capacity.

The federal government spent $20.1 million to rebuild the pump stations that
were severely damaged during Hurricanes Katrina in 2005, said Col. Michael
McCormick, Commander of the Corps' Hurricane Protection Office.

"What we have here is better than what we had before," St. Bernard Parish
President Craig P. Taffaro Jr. said.

"This is a critical development because the more we provide people a reason
to come home and a reason to stay home, the more we drive our parish's
Recovery and Growth," Taffaro said. "This is not one of those sexy projects
you can drive by and see, but it is important because it gives a sense of
safety to our community."

The renovated pump stations bring the parish's capacity to pump out storm
water back to its pre-Katrina levels, and their completion is an important
step to "reduce the risk for St. Bernard Parish," McCormick said.

The pump stations are operated by personnel with the Lake Borgne Basin Levee

Bob Turner, regional director of the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection
Authority-East and former head of the Lake Borgne district, said local
officials will continue to ask for federal assistance in building safe
houses for pump station operators in St. Bernard and Plaquemines parishes so
they can continue to staff pump operations during even the most severe

Specifically, the ceremony highlighted the completion of three pumping
stations #2 called the Guichard station, #3 called the Bayou Villere station
and #4 called the EJ Gore stations.

Tim Doody, an Arabi resident who is president of the Southeast Louisiana
Flood Protection Authority-East, said the renovations are a success story
that show how partnership between multiple agencies can benefit citizens.

"This is the beginning of a lot more protection for this area" because
flooding doesn't respect civic boundaries, Doody said, mentioning that St.
Bernard pump stations actually helped drain the New Orleans 9th Ward after
Katrina's flooding.

Turner said the area's drainage stands dramatically improved because the
stations are now elevated 12- to 14-feet off the ground and include brand
new pumps, engines and controls which are a substantial improvement over the
parts that mostly were at least 20 years old before Katrina.

"I think the next time it starts thundering... I will be able to lay down
and I will be able to sleep a little better knowing these pumps are on
line," Turner said.

For more information on St. Bernard Parish and its Recovery and Growth,
visit the parish website at www.sbpg.net.


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