Stopping the storm surge

new orleans pump station

Nearly half of the 1,833 people killed in Louisiana by Hurricane Katrina died from drowning.

Floodwaters broke through barriers meant to protect the city, and one of the most widely-known breaches was the 17th Street Canal, the city's largest drainage point. The water crashed through the concrete, opening up a 450-foot gap. It surged through the surrounding neighborhood, destroying buildings and killing residents.

Now, there's a pumping station at the top of the canal. Still under construction, the station will be able to pump about 180,000 gallons of water per second, which is enough water to fill an Olympic-sized swimming pool in under four seconds.

When the pump station is in action, the water is pushed out into the lake, eight feet below sea level. This will prevent a storm surge from occurring in the event of a hurricane.

There are two other pumping stations under construction, and all three are set to be finished in time for the 2017 hurricane season.

First published August 28, 2015: 3:12 PM ET

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