Eighty-two-year-old pumps helped drain city during Hurricane Katrine
Gardner Denver Nash announced the winner of the Oldest Pump Contest: the Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans, Drainage Station #6. It entered the contest with two pumps that have been running since 1928.
The Sewerage and Water Board, the water/drainage arm of the city of New Orleans, has a number of drainage stations throughout the city. At each of these stations, it has Nash vacuum pumps serving as priming pumps for its horizontal drainage pumps. Many of these pumps, including the two winners, are driven by 25-cycle motors. The 25-cycle power is produced by the Sewerage and Water Board itself, because the normal 60-cycle power produced by the local power company cannot be relied upon during hurricanes. The winning pumps are chain driven, an unusual set-up.
The two winning pumps were installed in 1928 when the station was built. During Hurricane Katrina, the station where these pumps are installed was submerged. Once the water level dropped below the station floor level, the Nash pumps were started up to prime the drainage pumps, which then ran for several weeks draining the city.
Other contest entries included two Nash pumps that have been running in a Florida water district since 1953, a Nash H-9 that has been used in the manufacture of molded pulp products since 1962 and a Nash H-5 that has been working in a paper mill since 1979.