Patterson Pump Company’s demonstration model of the permanent canal closures and
pumps (PCCP) drainage pump stations in New Orleans was generously donated to LSU’s
Civil and Environmental Engineering Department with the help of Ronnie Hebert of
Environmental Technical Sales (ETEC), I n c. to be used in the ETEC Hydraulics and Water
Distribution Laboratory. The model will be temporarily housed in the Vincent A. Forte
River and Costal Engineering Research Laboratory until the ETEC Lab in Patrick F. Taylor
Hall is completed in 2017.


The Corps of Engineers awarded the approximately $615 million contract to construct
the PCCP at the mouths of the 17th Street, Orleans Avenue and London Avenue outfall
canals on April17, 2013, to PCCP Constructors }V. The PCCP will provide a permanent
and more sustainable measure for reducing the risk of a 100-year level storm surge
entering the outfall canals. The PCCP will replace the interim closure structures, which
were constructed in 2006. The notice to proceed was issued on May 6, 203, and
construction will be complete in 44 months (2017). The existing interim closure
structures will continue to provide 100-year level of storm surge risk detection. The PCCP
will be composed of permanently gated storm surge barriers and brick facade pump
stations at or near the lakefront. The pumps will move rainwater out of the canals,
around the gates and into Lake Pontchartrain during a tropical weather event, and be
equipped with a stand-alone emergency power supply capacity so that it can operate
independently of any publicly provided utility.


When complete, the PCCP at 17th Street will consist of six 1,800 cubic feet per second
(cfs) pumps and two 900 cfs pumps and have a total pumping capacity of 12,600 cfs; the
PCCP at Orleans Avenue will consist of three 900 cfs pumps and have a total pumping
capacity of 2,700 cfs; the PCCP at London Avenue will consist of four 1,800 cfs pumps
and two 900 cfs pumps and have a total pumping capacity of 9,000 cfs.


The demonstration model donated to LSU has one working model pump and flows
water. Up to three pump bays are represented in the model. The bay geometry is
represented, including the trash rack, vortex breaker bars, and stop log slot. Only the
outside pump bay and pump are visible and operational. The model is one thirtieth of
the scale of the London Avenue outfall canal. The model weighs more than 1,500 pounds
dry and its water load is approximately 400 gallons.


LSU’s Civil and Environmental Engineering Department is grateful to the Patterson Pump
Company for this generous equipment donation that will enhance the classroom and lab
experience for generations of students studying hydraulics and water distribution. This
gift would not have been possible without the aid of Ronnie Hebert of ETEC, Inc., whom
the department also thanks.



LSU Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering

Ronnie Hebert



Ronald R.E. Hebert (“Ronnie”), President and CEO of Environmental Technical Sales, Inc. (ETEC),  received his B.S. in Civil Engineering from Louisiana State University in 1969. In 1996, Ronnie founded ETEC, a company specializing in the water, wastewater, sludge, and drainage industries.  ETEC’s main headquarters is located in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with other locations in Jackson, Mississippi, Little Rock, Arkansas and Memphis, Tennessee. With over 46 years of experience in this field and in all aspects of engineering, from conception and design, project management, financing, construction, and operations & maintenance, Ronnie has been involved in thousands or projects valued in the billions of dollars. As President and CEO, Ronnie is responsible for all aspects of ETEC’S representation of over 100 national manufacturers.Ronnie grew up in an “engineering” environment. His father, the late Roy A. Hebert (PE, PLS) was a LSU alumnus as well and co-founder of Hebert Brothers Engineers, General Contractors (their Louisiana contractor’s License was No.4!). In 1964, Ronnie graduated from St. John High School in Plaquemine, Louisiana. He served in the United States Army as Captain and as Company Commander of Company A, Louisiana Army National Guard 769th Engineer Battalion located in Plaquemine, Louisiana. After graduating from LSU in 1969, he completed the United States Army Engineer School in Fort Belvoir, Virginia.

Ronnie is a registered Professional Engineer in both Civil and Environmental Engineering.  Associations include membership in the American Society of Civil Engineers (Life Member), the Louisiana Engineering Society, The National Society of Professional Engineers, Chi Epsilon and other local organization. He has personally been a generous supporter of many charities within our community, including the Louisiana Engineering Foundation Math Counts, Louisiana Sheriff’s Association, St. Vincent de Pail’s

Uniforms for Kids, Boys Town and the World War II Museum in New Orleans. In addition to his personal philanthropy, ETEC recently made a donation towards the refurbishing of the LSU Hydraulics Laboratory, which upon completion will be named Environmental Technical Sales (ETEC) Hydraulics Laboratory.  ETEC has also established scholarship funds for engineering students.

Ronnie is married to Debbie Dupont Hebert, who is also an LSU alumnus. They are the proud parents of three children: Daniel Roy Hebert, David Gerald Hebert (deceased) and Cinclare Hebert Sessums. They are also grandparents of five wonderful grandchildren: Joseph Roy Hebert (a freshman at LSU in Engineering), John Daniel Roy Hebert, Anna Kern Hebert, Elizabeth Cinclare Sessums and John Brady Sessums Jr.


West Point, MS – Honor Award
West Point, MS

West Point, MS Honor Award
Honor Award
Calvert-Spradling Engineers, Inc. won an Honor Award for the West Point Wastewater Treatment Plant. Pictured from left: Matt Forrester, Calvert-Spradling Engineers; Stanley Spradling, Calvert-Spradling Engineers; West Point Mayor Robbie Robinson and David Bowman, ACEC/MS president-elect.

Presidential Hills – Jackson, MS – Honor Award
Presidential Hills – Jackson, MS

Presidential Hills – Jackson, MS – Honor Award

Honor Award
SOL Engineering Services won an Honor Award for the Presidential Hills Wastewater Treatment Plant Upgrade in Jackson. Pictured from left: Dan Thomas, City of Jackson Department of Public Works, Scott Armstrong, SOL Engineering Services; Cynthia Hill, William Miley, Mary Carter, Terry Williamson, City of Jackson Department of Public Works, Willie O’Neal, SOL Engineering Services and David Bowman, ACEC/MS president-elect.

The City of Jackson, Mississippi’s Presidential Hills Wastewater Treatment Plant became operational in October 2014. The upgraded wastewater treatment facility meets current National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit requirements and is capable of satisfying future regulatory concerns.

Beginning about 2009, a number of violations of the Presidential Hills Wastewater Treatment Plant’s NPDES Permit occurred.   Subsequently, the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) issued an Administrative Order requiring the City to either upgrade the Presidential Hills Wastewater Treatment Plant to meet NPDES permit requirements or cease discharging from the facility. Cessation of discharging from the Presidential Hills Wastewater Treatment Plant would have required pumping wastewater an excessive distance to an alternate wastewater treatment plant. In November 2012, the City of Jackson agreed to make improvements to the Presidential Hills Wastewater Treatment Plant that would bring the facility into compliance with its NPDES permit requirements. SOL Engineering Services, LLC (SOL) was selected as the prime consultant leading a team responsible for providing, engineering design, and construction administration services for a new $7.0 million wastewater treatment facility.

Various upgrade alternatives were considered and ultimately those alternatives identified as viable in meeting current discharge permit limits and capable of satisfying future regulatory concerns were evaluated in detail, including, cost and qualitative evaluation concerns. Five alternative treatment methods met this criteria. They included (1) Biological Aerated Filter (2) Moving Bed Bioreactor (3) Fixed Bed Bioreactor (4) Sequencing Batch Reactor and (5) Divert Wastewater to Savannah Street Plant.

Based on the cost and qualitative analysis, SOL and the City preceded with the Sequencing Batch Reactor (SBR) alternative as the selected alternative to upgrade the Presidential Hills Wastewater Treatment Plant. This alternative had the lowest total present worth cost, is highly flexible in meeting current NPDES permit discharge limits and future regulatory concerns, and has the ability to operate remotely.

The Presidential Hills Wastewater Treatment Plant upgrade was a 2-year project from commencement to completion. The new facility was constructed on the original site in order to take advantage of existing land resources.


The original Presidential Hills Wastewater Treatment Plant was constructed on an undeveloped 18.5 acre site in the

Presidential Hills subdivision in 1970, as a two cell lagoon complex. The new facility was constructed on this original site to take advantage of the existing land resources and outfitted with the latest in wastewater treatment technology.

The upgrade of the Presidential Hills Wastewater Treatment Plant consisted of converting the existing plant to a wastewater treatment system utilizing a Sequencing Batch Reactor (SBR). The SBR process consists of screening, the SBR Reactor, filtration, and ultraviolet (UV) disinfection. With this approach, the old Presidential Hills aerated lagoon wastewater facility was converted to a flow equalization basin and waste sludge storage.

The SBR is a suspended growth activated sludge process in which all processes take place in a single tank. The screened raw influent is mixed with suspended growth from the previous batch and aerated, intermittently, until treatment is complete. Once the treatment is complete, the mixing is stopped and the biomass is allowed to settle. Effluent from the SBR is sent to a new equalization tank and then to a new cloth media filter for final polishing prior to UV disinfection. Mixed liquor is periodically withdrawn from the tank to assure the mixed liquor suspended solids content remains in the appropriate range. The SBR treatment scheme is shown on the below schematic.

With the SBR alternative, the aerated lagoon was decommissioned from treatment and retrofitted to serve as an equalization basin. Influent flow is pumped to the new dual-train SBR for treatment and peak flows are pumped to the equalization basin and returned to the influent pump station when flow decreases. The existing polishing pond was converted to a sludge holding pond.


Waste activated sludge from the SBR is then pumped to the sludge holding pond with the decant returned to the influent pump station. Waste sludge is stored on site and for removal at a date to be determined and disposed of in accordance with regulatory requirements.

Prime consultant, SOL Engineering Services, LLC (SOL) was responsible for overall project design, management and delivery. SOL’s scope of services for this effort covered the following: site, grading, drainage, surveying, geotechnical engineering, road improvements, sewer system modifications, water system improvements, bid phase and construction administration services. SOL’s subconsultants CDM Smith, Inc., Gibson Engineering, Inc., Laird + Smithers, Inc., Southern Consultants, Inc., and Q Solutions, Inc. provided electrical engineering, process mechanical engineering, structural engineering, drafting and quality assurance services, respectively. Construction of the upgraded Presidential Hills Wastewater Treatment Plant was completed in October 2014.

The project played a significant role in the community well-being by:

  • Replacing the aerated lagoon with a more advanced treatment system that meets permitting requirements
  • Improving plant operations and maintenance efficiencies
  • Completion of the treatment plant representing tangible evidence of the City’s planned infrastructure improvements

SOL Engineering is privileged to present the Presidential Hills Wastewater Treatment Plant Upgrade project as an entrant in the 2015 Engineering Excellence Awards and believes that it meets the requirements set by ACEC/Mississippi.

Original or innovative application of new or existing techniques:

  • The project’s design has the necessary flexibility to satisfy future regulatory and development requirements.
  • Predominantly computer operated, which results in greater O&M efficiencies

Future value to the engineering profession and perception by the public:

  • The completion of the Presidential Hills Wastewater Treatment Plant upgrade was significant to the City of Jackson’s infrastructure master plan, as expressed by Jackson’s Mayor: “We are near turning a corner on a master plan.”
  • From a public perspective, this completed project is important since it provides tangible evidence that Jackson is making progress on its’ enormous infrastructure needs.

Social, economic and sustainable design considerations:

  • The upgraded Presidential Hills Wastewater Treatment Plant was constructed on the original site in order to take advantage of existing land resources; thus, minimizing its impact on the environment.
  • The upgraded Presidential Hills Wastewater Treatment Plant SBR option provided the least cost, based on a present worth analysis including design, construction, and improved operation and maintenance efficiencies.
  • Adverse impacts to receiving streams are minimized because the facility now meets permit requirements.
  • The selected alternative is a conventional activated sludge system, requiring less operator attention than other considered alternatives.
  • The upgraded Presidential Hills Wastewater Treatment SBR option has the least reliance on chemicals and the need to transport chemical to the plant.


  • The upgraded Treatment Plant is an activated sludge process with day to day operational control provided by the use of a SCADA system that allows plant operation with less direct operator attention.
  • The old Presidential Hills Wastewater Treatment Plant was constructed as an aerated lagoon system.

Exceeding client/owner needs:

  • The upgraded Presidential Hills Wastewater Treatment Plant meets current National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit requirements, and is capable of satisfying regulatory concerns. The facility has a capacity of 0.75 mgd with a current average daily flow of 0.3 mgd.
  • Praised by City Leaders (i.e., Mayor, City Council President, Director and Deputy Director of Public Works)
  • Completed within budget

SOL Engineering Services, LLC: 106 South President Street, 4th Floor • Jackson, MS 39201 (601) 961.1415 •

Contact: Scott Armstrong, P.E., PLS –

SOL Engineering Services, LLC, a locally owned company, with over 13 years of overall design and project delivery

experience was selected as the the Prime Consultant for the new Presidential Hills Wastewater Treatment Facility.

Having played a pivotal role in reaching this important milestone, SOL Engineering Services provided the engineering

design, innovative cost-effective techniques, and economic impacts that provided environmental safety to the community.

SOL Engineering led a team that was responsible for providing planning, engineering, design and construction

administration services for the new $7.0 million wastewater treatment facility.


Laird + Smithers, Inc.: 219 North Lamar St. • Jackson, MS 39201 (601) 914.1547 •

Contact: Jeff Laird, P.E. –

Laird + Smithers designed and provided structural and architectural engineering.


CDM Smith, Inc.: 8140 Walnut Hill Lane • Dallas, TX 75231 (214) 775.3211 •

Contact: Indira Petrovich, P.E. –

CDM Smith provided electrical engineering.


Gibson Engineering, Inc.: 210 East Capitol Street • Jackson, MS 39201 (601) 960.6440 •

Contact: Phillip Gibson, P.E. –

Gibson Engineering was responsible for processing and mechanical engineering.


Southern Consultants, Inc.: 5740 County Cork Road • Jackson, MS 39206 (601) 957.0999 •

Contact: Jim Stewart, P.E., PLS –

Southern Consultants provided building interior and drafting services.


Q Solutions, Inc.: P.O. Box 888501 Atlanta, GA (770) 939.6500 •

Contact: Kieu-Anh Tran, P.E., –

Q Solutions was responsible for quality assurance and quality control (QA/QC) for plans review.


February 18, 2015

For release: IMMEDIATELY

For more information contact:

Bryan Harmon, Public Works Director: (225) 389-3158

Susan Boudreaux, Mayor’s Office: (225) 389-5101

Scott Dyer, Mayor’s Office: (225) 389-7957



Press Release


South Waste Water Treatment Plant running smoothly after expansion, upgrades


‘State of the Art’ facility major milestone in ongoing efforts to modernize EBR sewer system




The City-Parish’s recently retooled “State of the Art” South Wastewater Treatment Plant (SWWTP) on Gardere Lane is officially in operation after nearly $250 million worth of construction work.


The project expanded the SWWTP’s capacity from 120 million to 200 million gallons per day, converted the 50-year-old plant into a state-of-the-art facility, and greatly improved the treatment efficiency and effluent quality. Operations of the revamped plant officially began on January 12 and have been running smoothly ever since.


“This is a major milestone for the City-Parish in our commitment to the citizens of Baton Rouge, to improve quality of life and environmental responsibility,” said Chief of Wastewater Operations and Maintenance Amy Schulze.”The staff of the DPW-Wastewater Treatment Operations and Maintenance Division worked tirelessly together to successfully start-up the SWWTP’s new treatment operations.  We are grateful to our employees for their efforts and to the public for their continued patience as we move towards this vitally important Program’s completion.”


The expanded plant will allow for the closure of the old Central Wastewater Treatment Plant (CWWTP) off River Road between downtown Baton Rouge and LSU. Flows from the CWWTP are expected to be diverted to the SWWTP this summer.  Plans call for the CWWTP to eventually be dismantled.


Last September, the SWWTP was showcased in a tour that was part of the Water Environment Federation’s Annual Technical Exhibition and Conference. The annual conference offers water quality professionals from around the world the best water quality education and training available today.


The expansion and revamp of the SWWTP is the largest capital improvement project in the history of East Baton Rouge Parish, and is part of the Sanitary Sewer Overflow (SSO) Program, an ongoing $1.3 billion revamp of the City-Parish’s aging sewer system.


The improvements to the sewer system were mandated by the federal government because the system occasionally overflowed during heavy rains, and sometimes backed up into homes and businesses.


In addition to improvements to the SWWTP, the SSO Program also includes:


  • Rehabilitation of 5 million feet of pipeline.


  • Upsizing of 1 million feet of sewage lines to increase capacity.


  • Expansion of 150 of the City-Parish’s more than 400 pump stations.


  • Improvements to the North Wastewater Treatment Plant (NWWTP).


  • Installation of backup generators for all pump stations and treatment plants, so the system can continue to function during power outages during hurricanes or other disasters.


  • Installation of a system-wide electronic monitoring and control system to allow the continuous monitoring and operations of pump stations from a centralized location.



Public Works Director Bryan Harmon noted that while the work at the SWWTP has been completed to allow the receipt and processing of the sewer flows from the collection system, the collection system work is not yet complete and many of those improvements have yet to be connected to the plant.


“The SSO Program continues to move forward towards the implementation of all 110 projects to make whole its commitment to satisfying the Consent Decree and doing its part to make Baton Rouge America’s next great city,” Harmon said. “Improvements will continue on the collection and pumping components of the sewer system, as well as the NWWTP, and we ask for your continued patience and understanding for the remainder of the Program.  We will do our part to minimize inconveniences to the citizens of the City-Parish.”


Harmon said all elements of the improved sewer system won’t be fully functional until the later part of 2018.


Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering – CEE.LSU.EDU.

LSU7779 ETEC Lab 10-31-14

New ETEC Hydraulics and Water Distribution Laboratory Trains Students on Fluid Mechanics

November 11, 2014

On Friday, October 31, representatives from LSU, Environmental Technical Sales, Inc. (ETEC), and M.R. Pittman Group gathered to celebrate the opening of the ETEC Hydraulics and Water Distribution Laboratory.

“LSU’s College of Engineering gave me a great foundation for going forth in life and starting ETEC with fellow engineering alumni Sam Agnew and Michael Todd,” said Ronnie Hebert, president, ETEC. “With this lab, we want to offer LSU students a high-tech experience in the study of hydraulics to prepare them for work after they graduate.”

Bolstered by a $200,000 donation from ETEC and M.R. Pittman Group, LSU College of Engineering undergraduate students will receive hands-on experience in the monitoring, controlling, and modeling of hydraulic systems in an upgraded experimental and modeling facility.

“Thanks to ETEC and M.R. Pittman Group, this new lab will allow us to better prepare LSU Engineers by providing a state-of-the-art learning environment and in-depth training and research in water resource management,” said George Voyiadjis, chair, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. “This facility allows our students to test principles of fluid mechanics and hydraulics through experimentation, involving the measurement and calibration of hydraulic machinery, pump and turbine efficiency, and flow in pipelines.”

Features of the new ETEC laboratory include a fluid friction flow apparatus, parallel and series pumps demonstration unit, FM62 turbine service unit, an Opti-Float system, and updated control and visualization software. The new equipment expands the type of experiments students can perform, making data acquisition and analysis easier and more efficient in preparing lab reports.

“The generous donation by ETEC and M.R. Pittman Group is having a tremendous impact on the education and training of our students,” said Clint Willson, professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. “The addition of several new apparatuses, such as the parallel and series pump system, is providing more opportunities for the students to learn and apply fundamental hydraulics concepts that are crucial in many parts of the state, such as drainage and flood control operations.”

Ronald R. E. Hebert, a 1969 Civil Engineering graduate, pledged $100,000 toward the installation of a hydraulics lab in the College of Engineering. A matching contribution of $100,000 was made by the M.R. Pittman Group, a Metairie, La. construction firm founded in 2005 by Michael R. Pittman, a 1983 Civil Engineering alumnus.

“There is no better place than LSU to invest our efforts to further education,” said Pittman.

The lab is named in honor of ETEC, a manufacturers’ representative organization with expertise in equipment applications for water treatment, wastewater treatment, solids handling, and air emissions. ETEC was founded in 1995 by Hebert, Samuel Agnew, a 1974 Chemical Engineering alumnus, and Michael Todd, a 1979 Mechanical Engineering alumnus.


For more information contact Mimi LaValle,, 225-578-5706.

View more images from this story


LSU7696 ETEC LabLSU7723 ETEC Lab

LSU7743 ETEC LabLSU7746 ETEC Lab

LSU7796 ETEC LabLSU7784 ETEC Lab

Five-Part Project to Ease New Orleans Flooding | ENR.

Five-Part Project to Ease New Orleans Flooding

In a city that sits below sea level and is surrounded by water, drainage projects can be complex and crucial undertakings. Now more than halfway complete, the Pump to the River project will improve drainage in part of New Orleans by increasing capacity and shortening the distance to the basin.
Photo by Craig Guillot
Pump Station: MR Pittman is building the pump station, which features three customized 400-cfs vertical diesel pumps, fuel tanks, overhead cranes and a safe room for station workers.

Designed and constructed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), the project spans almost two miles and is broken up into five contracts, each with different general contractors. Discovery of subsurface material, the design of a complex siphoning system and coordination with local businesses have proven difficult, but the project is still on schedule.

Five ‘Big Easy’ Pieces

The $100-million project aims to improve drainage in the New Orleans suburbs of River Ridge and Harahan. Kazem Alikhani, director of the Jefferson Parish Public Works, says the idea for the project arose following a May 1995 flood that overwhelmed the canals and flooded thousands of homes. Post-disaster investigations found that pumping from River Ridge and Harahan to the Mississippi River instead of to Lake Pontchartrain could dramatically improve drainage.

The Southeast Louisiana Urban Flood Control Project (SELA) was founded in 1996 as a result of the disaster with the aim of completing more than 50 flood-control projects by 2017. As one of those projects, Pump to the River will cut three miles off the distance water has to travel, thus reducing volume and easing flows in the Soniat Canal. “The new [route] will tremendously lower the stage of the Soniat Canal and will significantly improve drainage in the Harahan and River Ridge area,” says Alikhani. “It will be a big improvement for flood protection in the area.”

The project spans almost 10,000 ft from the foot of the Soniat Canal to the Mississippi River. The system starts with the $10.7-million intake basin (SELA 09a) that takes water from the Soniat Canal and Mazque Ditch to a transition box culvert in the Harahan Pump Station. It is being constructed by Veteran’s Contractors Group JV LLC and consists of 600 linear ft of underground culvert.

The $29.4-million pump station project (SELA 09) broke ground in September 2011 and is roughly 80% complete. It is being constructed by MR Pittman Group and consists of three 400-cfs vertical diesel pumps that push the water on its trek to the river. After leaving the station, the flow runs into the 1,600-ft north discharge tubes (SELA 07a) and then to the 4,500-ft south discharge tubes (SELA 07b) being constructed by Conti Enterprises for $23.8 million. The entire system ends at the discharge basin (SELA 07c), a $24.4-million project being built by B&K Construction Co. It consists of 2,000 linear ft of steel pipe, a pile-supported concrete discharge basin and a cathodic protection system.

Rachel Calico, project manager at USACE, says it took careful planning to divide up the project and ensure that all the contractors were in sync. While they managed their own individual parts, they all needed to communicate where the segments met or overlapped. The Corps has also been working closely with Jefferson Parish, the city of Harahan and the Louisiana Dept. of Transportation and Development as well as local businesses affected by the construction.

“It’s a big site, and there are a number of [contractors] involved, but we haven’t had any major issues. It has been going very well with all involved,” Calico says.

Laying drain pipe may be relatively simple, but the long distance, large volumes and elevation changes demanded some complex engineering. To accommodate a large flow of water over such a long distance, the Corps called for 84-in.-dia pipes. The piping is being fabricated off site and transported to the jobsite in 20-ft to 50-ft segments, Calico says.

While most of the piping is laid through prescribed rights-of-way, there are some areas where work is affecting private property and causing long-term road closures. In other areas, heavy construction with pile drivers and excavators is happening near businesses and homes.

“We’re having to deal with some property owners, but we’ve done a good job of publicizing the work,” Alikhani says. “You’re going to have some inconvenience with a project like this, but [homeowners and businesses] in the area understand it’s important.”

Calico says there has also been some surprises on the project. One was the discovery of a 190-ft-long sunken barge along the banks of the Mississippi near the discharge basin. B&K employed a specialized dive and recovery team to remove it from the site. That delayed the schedule by a month, but the contractor has since made up the time by laying pipe in the ground faster than anticipated.

“It was a nerve-wracking process,” Calico says. “A diver had to cut [the old barge] with a torch, and they removed it piece by piece. It could have been a much bigger problem, but we’ve got good contractors who know how to get these things done.”

Calico says they also encountered some difficulty when driving the 500 60-ft piles for the pumping station. A tough layer of debris and sand was causing some of the wooden piles to split. MR Pittman Group and the Corps devised a method of pre-drilling the holes, filling them with water and installing steel cone points at the base of the piles.

“It initially gave us some grief and there was a learning curve, but once we came up with the right method, it was smooth sailing from there,” Calico says.

Engineering a Pump System

One particular challenge of the project design was moving water over such a great distance and then lifting it over the 26-ft-tall Mississippi River levee.

Stefan Miller, a mechanical engineer with the USACE, helped design the siphoning system. Where a typical pump station may have a 100-ft discharge tube, the long span to the river required special planning and hydraulic engineering. The system requires water to be pushed upward, from a low point of 15 ft below sea level, to 17 ft above sea level at the top of the levee.

“It’s the same principle as siphoning, but [the water] needs some help along the way,” Miller says. “The water is draining to a higher level than you are coming from.”

The pipes run on a slight incline toward the river before rising sharply to clear the levee. Miller says once water reaches the other side, it helps siphon the rest of the water over the top. The Corps created a scale model using water flow and volume to determine what it would take to prime the pipe. Miller says they then worked with a manufacturer to construct customized pumps to move the water at the right velocity. With such large pipes and the weight of the water moving across the levee, the design required the contractor to first widen and fortify the levee with concrete supports. After pipes are laid across the levee, they will be placed back underground for the span to the discharge basin.

Miller says the key to making the siphon work is to keep the pipe filled with water and eliminate air pockets. This was accomplished by designing the system with numerous shutoff and release valves. In the case of a big rain, the streets will drain to the pump station, which then starts to fill the pipe with water. Once the pipe is filled up to the levee, the system is primed and siphoning can start.

“It was a little complicated in that sense,” Miller says. “You don’t want air trapped in the pipe. We did a lot of studies to see what it would take to prime [the pipe]. If the pump isn’t pumping hard enough and you have air, it won’t work.”

Despite a few delays and engineering challenges, Calico says the project is on track for a 2017 completion.

What $250 million can buy you: See photos of Baton Rouge’s wastewater treatment plant expansion |

What $250 million can buy you: See photos of Baton Rouge’s wastewater treatment plant expansion

PISTA - Profile - Baton Rouge LA_Page_1
Link to PDF – PISTA – Profile – Baton Rouge LA

WWTP Plant Upgrade Achieves 98% Grit Removal with PISTA® 360™

Home to the state capital, two major universities, several Fortune 1000 companies, and a rich cultural heritage, the City of Baton Rouge is one of America’s most dynamic, growing cities. “Red Stick” dates back to 1699 when Europeans began settling there and establishing military strongholds as early as 1719. Today, and seven national flags later, the City serves as the seat of Louisiana’s most populated parish, East Baton Rouge (pop. 440,171), and the center of a burgeoning metropolitan area of more than 800,000. Read More →