West Closure Complex: The greatest water pump of the world

Published the 13 Sep, 2009 by Eugene Rodriguez in Construction

The station West Closure Complex located in New Orleans, began to be constructed at the beginning of this summer with a unique characteristic, being the pump of greatest water extraction of the world, developed by the Army Corps of Engineers of the United States, guaranteeing the security of the place from floods, allowing the massive water drainage towards the sea.

The gate system consists of steel doors 32 feet height installed at heart of the river to block swells of up to 15 feet originating of the outside. The gate is held strongly by a foundation consisting of concrete 10 foot thick supported by 524 steel piles totaling more than 200 tons.

Steel bars protect the pumps from being obstructed by the accumulation of trees, parts of buildings, cars, as well as all type of materials and objects that are destroyed, dragged and transported by a flood. In addition, it has a mechanical system of sweeping, that cleans the accumulation of debris as it approaches the station.

The water extraction is realized by means of a diesel engine of 5,000 horsepower, that rotate the helix of the pump 150 times per minute. The 11 pumps that make up the station, can get to extract 15,000 gallons of water per second, the equivalent to near 15 Olympic swimming pools every minute.

When a great storm threatens, the West Closure Complex will activate the defense system. First of all, the operators will close the doors of 225 feet in width to block the increase of the level of the water. Later the system of greatest pumping of the world will activate. And unlike the levees around the city, the WCC will not fracture when the population needs it, since the station is designed to support everything almost, including winds up to 250mph.

The station will rely on the latest advances in civil engineering helping this way to the protection of more the 240,000 residents that live in New Orleans, a city that has a high risk of flood.