Scout’s Obsession with the GAO: New Orleans Pump Contract Edition

The GAO has released its report on the NOLA pump contract. They concluded the Army Corps of Engineers “utilized several tools to expedite and streamline the acquisition process” and “had a valid reason for each of the iterative decisions it made at each stage of the procurement process.”

The cumulative effect of these decisions resulted in one supplier—Moving Water Industries Corporation—being in the strongest competitive position to receive the contract for the pumping systems.

In other words they conclude no rigging. However there were troubling conclusions in the report. The GAO looked at the issue of testing of the pumps and noted…

The Corps and MWI lacked a comprehensive testing plan designed to identify and resolve problems before shipment

•Because of schedule and performance concerns, factory testing parameters changed several times, for example the Corps discontinued some tests and added others

•Limited provisions for field testing were included in the contract—with no criteria for desired end result or success of test

Some better than none…

Nevertheless, the pumping systems were installed as planned because the Corps believed that it was better to have some pumping capacity along the drainage canals during the 2006 hurricane season rather than none.

The report also looked at what the Corps plans to do to increase pumping capacity for the 2007 hurricane season. Of course these are plans and projections. There are 3 interesting graphs of the pumping capacity trends at 3 NOLA canals on pages 33, 34 and 35 of the pdf.

This conclusion is most troubling

However, total planned temporary and portable pumping capacity will not meet the Sewerage and Water Board’s drainage needs to keep the city from flooding during a hurricane when the canal gates are closed for 2 reasons:

•Weaknesses in some canal walls will continue to restrict the amount of water that can be pumped into the canals from the city to about 69% of their maximum capacity

•Even if these restrictions were eased or lifted, the Corps would have pumping capacity equal to about 82% of the maximum canal capacity

For further critique on the NOLA pumps go read Matt at Fix the Pumps. Added: As Matt points out this is not the final version of the GAO report.

2 thoughts on “Scout’s Obsession with the GAO: New Orleans Pump Contract Edition

  1. Does it surprise anyone that Moving Water Industries Corporation is owned by Jeb Bush’s business partners?

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