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Keeping Another Katrina Away

ABB vertical gearmotors installed in pump stations will protect New Orleans from future flooding.


In August of 2005, Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast of the United States burying more than 80 percent of the city of New Orleans under 15 feet of water and debris. With more than 1,800 dead and millions of people left homeless, the storm is considered one of the worst natural disasters in US history.

To prevent something like this from ever happening again, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers put a temporary pumping system in place, then awarded approximately $615 million for the New Orleans Permanent Canal Closures and Pumps (PCCP) project to keep the city’s three main drainage outfall canals from being overwhelmed in future storms.

Nearly completed pump stations at the mouth of the 17th Street, Orleans Avenue and London Avenue canals include 17 ABB vertical gearmotors (VGM) that will power massive pumps supplied by Patterson Pump Co. The project also includes 17 ABB ACS 1000i and 5000i medium voltage (MV) drives to control the pump start-up.

The PCCP project is scheduled for completion in late 2017.When completed, the PCCP project will be able to pump over 55 billion liters per day from New Orleans’ three outfall canals into Lake Pontchartrain. The three stations combined will be able to pump 24,300 cubic feet per second. That’s enough water to fill an Olympic-sized swimming pool in 3.63 seconds, ABB said.

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