The Army Corps of Engineers has broken ground on a serious construction project: a 570,000-litre-per-second, $US500 million pumping station charged with keeping the city of New Orleans a little, uh, dryer than it has been in the last few years.
The pump is just a small part of a larger $US14 billion plan to seal up New Orleans’ levees and bolster the city’s disaster preparedness, but it’s without a doubt the most visually impressive. PopSci’s thrown together a couple of diagrams to give us a sense of scale, and trust me, they’re necessary — see that little white thing next to the diesel engine? That’s a full-sized human being. There aren’t a whole lot of companies that make combustion engines that cartoonishly huge, so my money’s on something from a company like Wartsila-Sulzer, which makes engines like this to spin the props on ultramassive cargo ships, and conceivably, pumps: