New Orleans Pumping Stations

Stabilizing and Retrofitting New Orleans' Critical Pumping Stations to Withstand High Wind and Flood

Location: New Orleans, LA
Age/Built: 1908
Crack Repair, Gruenstark (GS) Anchors, Services, Stabilization of Historic Structures, Testing and Analysis, Wind and Flood Enhancement

Project Background:

  • Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans in 2005
  • It was the costliest natural disaster in US history (over $81 billion in damages) and the deadliest since 1928
  • New Orleans, built in a basin below sea level, relies on a series of pumping installations to keep from flooding
  • Many of these stations are over 100 years old and were at risk should another significant hurricane strike

Challenges Presented:

  • The Army Corps of Engineers was given a mandate to retrofit their pump stations to withstand a category 3 hurricane, which can have sustained winds over 130 mph
  • Due to their historic nature, several stations required special attention so as to stabilize their historic fabric
  • Masonry Solutions International was contracted across a number of these multi-million dollar projects and was asked to perform the critical task of structurally enhancing the aging installations
  • MSI worked with a wide variety of contractors during their efforts, adding a host of complex logistical and communicative challenges

Services and Solutions:

  • Masonry Solutions began by non-destructively evaluating the various installations, one of which contained a complex of buildings,  using techniques such as microwave radar
  • In-situ testing included ASTM C1197 and ASTM C1072
  • Utilizing this battery of tests, MSI laboratory engineers then developed a compatible injection fill (CIF) for each station, calibrating their material properties to the characteristics of any intended host. One historic station alone received over 840,000 lbs. of CIF
  • Next, Masonry Solutions injection team developed a low pressure injection protocol that accounted for the historic nature of the stations as well their void structures
  • Prior to injection, a vast series of enhancement rods were needed, with over 50,000 linear ft. of Gruenstark stainless steel  fabric anchorage furnished and installed by MSI
  • This anchorage represented the highest level of security possible, employing MSI’s undercut geometric locking design, allowing higher than typical loads to be withstood
  • To place this anchorage, Masonry Solutions applied advanced long-bore dry coring techniques, at times coring over 160 ft. for one anchor
  • Masonry Solutions performed their work with the utmost care for the continuing operations of these important historic yet functional installations
  • All stations’ appearances were maintained and no service interruptions were experienced
  • This work represents the largest CIF and masonry anchorage effort in US history to date