NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) – The heavy rains this spring made many nervous about flooding, especially as the region enters hurricane season. A local area with a history of drainage problems is working hard to improve and hopes the technology will help.
Rain floods have always been an issue in St. Charles Parish. Walter Pilie lives in Ormond and is actively monitoring the floods in his Destrehan neighborhood. He said, “Eighteen houses here were flooded in December.” Some houses on the street for the third or fourth time. A similar rain was near a few weeks ago, but the water didn’t make it into the houses. Pilie said, “It makes a difference. We just can’t fix it fast enough. “
Community President Matthew Jewell knows they have a long way to go. He believes the technology installed by the community will help improve performance. Jewell said, “We are really ahead of the curve when it comes to how we monitor our pumping stations through a system called SCADA and telemetry.”
Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition (SCADA) and Telemetry is a remote system that can activate pumps based on the water level in the inlet area and allows operators to override the system from the community emergency operations office if necessary.
Jewell said, “If we sit here at the EOC, we can monitor all of our pumping stations in the community and see that they are checking the fuel levels there. check whether our batteries on our starters and everything are charged so we can ensure that they are ready for use at all times. “
Getting water from neighborhoods means using large pumping stations efficiently. Community officials say the ability to remotely check them out gives them an edge.
Joe Ganote is the director of homeland security and emergency management for St. Charles. He said, “Even when it’s not raining, they are driven and tested and we are constantly monitoring these things so there is always a problem; you go offline; We know immediately before the rain even comes. “
Ganote says the remote system is backed by the municipalities’ 24/7 emergency services office. He said, “So having someone there really cuts response times and enables our people, and the community, to communicate with residents to protect them in a much quicker response.”
The constant presence protects the citizens from all emergencies from weather events to work accidents. Ganote said: “You pick up the phone, when it rings here you get a human. You can take protective measures. “
The municipality is also investing in its own network of weather stations. Jewell said, “This way we can see where we will be hit the most and focus resources on those areas.”
Jewell hopes the remote capability, coupled with increased maintenance and a long-term drainage plan, will bring the desired relief to residents.
“So our motto is kind of a Funding Key, but we’re doing all we can to get the best out of our drainage system that we have, and it’s happening and we’re seeing improvements,” said Jewell.
The residents only hope that it will be enough to keep the next flood in check.
Jewell said most remote stations in the parish are seeing 50 inches or more of rain as early as 2021 by the beginning of June.
He said being able to look back on this data and see trends in areas with flooding problems is a critical step in keeping the drainage system functioning.
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