The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is constructing a new $100 million drainage system in the suburbs of New Orleans.
The Harahan Pump to the River Project consists of five individual projects with 8,700 linear feet of 84-in buried steel pipe and a pumping capacity of 1,200 cu-ft per second. While the Harahan and Elmwood area currently drains to Lake Pontchartrain, the new project will divert drainage to the nearby Mississippi River.
"The idea is to drain the water from the Soniat Canal to the river [which is closer] so that it will drain more efficiently during a ten-year rain event," says Corps of Engineers Project Manager Rachel Calico.
The new drainage route will start at the intake basin on the Soniat Canal with 600 linear feet of underground box culvert running to the new Harahan Pump Station. Water will then be pumped from the station through the south discharge tubes to the levee at the Mississippi River. There, a sophisticated siphoning system will siphon the water over the 26-ft-high levee, across the batture and to the discharge basin at the river.
All five projects, including the pump station, have been awarded and are under construction. Large amounts of steel discovered in the ground in some areas have caused some delays but Calico says all projects should be completed within a few months of each other in 2016.
"The goal was to get these projects awarded and have them come to completion around the same time so we could hand the parish a complete usable product," says Calico.
The project is part of the Southeast Louisiana Urban Flood Control Project (SELA), a regional conglomeration of improvements designed to reduce the risk of damage due to flooding in Orleans, Jefferson and St. Tammany Parishes.