In New Orleans Thursday (4-17), the Army Corps of Engineers tested dozens of new pumps in a mock hurricane drill. Even though there were some minor glitches, most of those came from valves on new pumps still under warranty.
Otherwise, the Corps says today's tests were a success, but real storm conditions could be another matter.
The Corps put nearly 70 pumps to the test at four different locations. In the biggest exercise yet for a system still unchecked by a real storm, Corps officials did their best to imitate several worst-case scenarios. If power goes out, the Corps says the system can run on generator backup without human intervention.
The floodgates worked well, taking 45 minutes to close as if a storm surge were on the way. There was a problem with one of the pumps at the 17th Street Canal.
The Corps will run similar tests next month. The new pumps are under a two year warranty, then it will be up to Corps workers to keep them running. But there are long term plans to replace all the pumps. The Corps hopes drills like today's helps them better deal with storms to come.