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Wednesday, April 17, 2019

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SLLD discusses Harvey’s local impact

SLLD discusses Harvey’s local impact

To say the least, members of the Board of the South Lafourche Levee District are quite proud of the system they have built and maintained to protect the population of Lafourche Parish’s 10th Ward from flooding.

Their system ranges from the Intracoastal Waterway in Larose to the Leon Theriot Floodgate and Locks just below Golden Meadow on both sides of Bayou Lafourche.

Success and history have been on their side, especially when compared to the failures of the New Orleans Sewage and Water Board’s pumping system during the early August flooding in that city.

Unlike the Big Easy’s century-old and neglected system which failed to keep up with the 14 inches of rain water which filled up many parts of the city of New Orleans, SLLD has insisted on being proactive.

A few years back, SLLD installed a maintenance program which has at least infused new life into its decades-old but otherwise trusty pump system, giving it a greater reliability than that of the much larger city to the northeast.

At Tuesday’s SLLD public meeting, General Manager Windell Curole informed attendees that very few “issues” occurred in our system while Hurricane Harvey was hitting the Texas coast on August 24-25, at the same time inundating our area with torrential rains.

“Our guys worked hard, and long overtime hours, and we kept things under control,” Curole stated.

Although Harvey put 3.2 feet of water against the levee system, the locks worked throughout, closing only for a 24-hour period on August 24.

On a grander scale, Curole discussed the maintenance program which SLLD employs for its equipment.

“Over the past three or four years, we have spent about $1.5 million rehabilitating the engines and the pumps. Hopefully it is paying off,” he said.

Curole said that of the six pumping stations with a total of 28 pumps and associated equipment, only one power take-off unit (PTO) and one 35-inch pump are not online.

At Pump Station #1, (Golden Meadow Park), wiring issues caused the overhead crane and a PTO to fail.

A 35-inch pump at Pump Station #2, (Bason’s), failed when loose bolts caused a misalignment of the pump. It will be down for 3 more weeks for repair.

Curole noted that September 10th is the “center” of hurricane season, but attempted to reassure residents by advising them to pay greater attention to low pressure systems and tropical storms which are actually in the Gulf of Mexico and not worry as much about those in the Atlantic Ocean.

“Atlantic systems are only a prediction,” he said. “After 3 days, almost always, it’s a ballpark guess.”