Massive pumps protect community on flood-prone Ohio River (with related video)
Following a devastating 1937 flood that swamped 70 percent of Louisville, Kentucky, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers built a series of flood control stations to protect communities along the flood-prone Ohio River.
One of a network of 16, the Western Flood Pumping Station was completed in 1952 and equipped with seven massive vertical Peerless-brand pumps. For more than 60 years, the station protected the community of 138,000 from flooding, but the pumps were becoming old, worn and incompatible with modern electric controls.
The $20 million project took four years from start to finish: two years for design, one for manufacturing and one for installation. The team’s most critical challenge was renovating the station without a single minute of downtime. This meant replacing the 6-foot-wide and 12-foot tall pumps one at a time.
Officials installed seven vertical, mixed-flow, line-shaft pumps — four with 72-inch-diameter casings and 1,250-horsepower motors and three with 48-inch-diameter casings and 450-horsepower motors. They provide a combined pumping capacity of 1 million gallons/minute. The pumps are equipped with updated induction motor technology, vibration monitoring, controls to monitor bearing temperatures, and an automatic grease lubrication system.
The new pumps and controls have allowed local officials to monitor pump performance constantly. Thanks to this ability to fully monitor the station, the operator can ensure that the pumps are working correctly at all times, protecting homes and businesses from destruction.
The video explains how demand-driven distribution, smart irrigation, leak reduction and other techniques can help meet the water challenge.