Sometimes I fail to become adequately cynical about those in charge of this nation.
I came across this article this morning that left me flabbergasted. The Army Corps has placed pumps in the defense of New Orleans that are faulty, that have never been tested, and have come from a company under investigation, that has donated money to Republicans and has ties to the Bush family.
Even I am shocked.
As the article relates:
The drainage-canal pumps were custom-designed and built under a $26.6 million contract awarded after competitive bidding to Moving Water Industries Corp. of Deerfield Beach, Fla. It was founded in 1926 and supplies flood-control and irrigation pumps all over the world.
MWI is owned by J. David Eller and his sons. Eller was once a business partner of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush in a venture called Bush-El that marketed MWI pumps. And Eller has donated about $128,000 to politicians, the vast majority of it to the Republican Party, since 1996, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
MWI has run into trouble before. The U.S. Justice Department sued the company in 2002, accusing it of fraudulently helping Nigeria obtain $74 million in taxpayer-backed loans for overpriced and unnecessary water-pump equipment. The case has yet to be resolved.
To the Army Corps of Engineers credit they are indeed withholding most of the payment for these pumps. But the Corps are now under scrutiny.
As the article continues:
Misgivings about the pumps were chronicled in a May 2006 memo provided to the AP by Matt McBride, a mechanical engineer and flooded-out Katrina victim who, like many in New Orleans, has been closely watching the rebuilding of the city’s flood defenses.
The memo was written by Maria Garzino, a Corps mechanical engineer overseeing quality assurance at an MWI test site in Florida. The Corps confirmed the authenticity of the 72-page memo, which details many of the mechanical problems and criticizes the testing procedures used.
About a dozen of the 34 pumps on order were already in place in New Orleans when Garzino wrote her report, according to Bedey.
In her memo, Garzino told corps officials that the equipment being installed was defective. She warned that the pumps would break down ”should they be tasked to run, under normal use, as would be required in the event of a hurricane.”
The pumps, 60 inches in diameter and capable of moving 200 cubic feet of water per second, are run by pressurized hydraulic oil. The supercharged oil cranks up a hydraulic motor, which in turn spins water-moving propellers.
The pumps failed less-strenuous testing than the original contract called for, according to the memo. Originally, each of the 34 pumps was to be ”load tested” — made to pump water — but that requirement for all the pumps was dropped, the memo said.
Of eight pumps that were load tested, one was turned on for a few minutes and another was run at one-third of operating pressure, the memo said. Three of the other load-tested pumps ”experienced catastrophic failure,” Garzino wrote.
There is little I can add to this story.
The incompetence and the corruption continues.
Our country needs change. New Orleans needs hope.