Hurricane Katrina Survivor: Headworks Mahr bar screens help keep New Orleans dry

The Headworks Mahr bar screens have been the vanguard of the East Bank Sewage Treatment Plant -- New Orleans' main wastewater plant -- during the flooding crisis last summer following Hurricane Katrina. Six bar screens began operation at East Bank WWTP in 2001. Remarkably, the bar screens sustained no damage from the hurricane other than a few motors that submerged and had to be replaced. The endurance of the screens is a testament of the strength and durability of the Headworks brand...

Jul 20th, 2006

Case Study Information:
Location: East Bank, New Orleans, LA
Installed: 2001
MGD: 50.5

HOUSTON, July 18, 2006 -- In August 2005, Hurricane Katrina penetrated through the U.S. Southeast causing un¬imaginable destruction in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. One of the most devastated of these areas was the City of New Orleans which is still recovering today from the Hurricane's aftermath. The flooding that resulted from Hurricane Katrina left many sections of the city under water, in addition to causing substantial structural devastation such as broken bridges; buckled roadways; damaged homes, buildings and power lines. Consequently, one year later, the city of New Orleans is still living in a total reconstructive nightmare!

Problems with unclean wastewater and other sanitation issues have been an ongoing setback within New Orleans. Needless to say, it is critical that a city's wastewater treatment plants are up and running because they impact the health and livelihood of surrounding residents. Wastewater plants are the first lines of defense in protecting public from diseases caused by bacteria, pollution, toxins, etc. in untreated wastewater.

The East Bank Sewage Treatment Plant, also known as the Main Wastewater Treatment Plant, for New Orleans was affected by Hurricane Katrina. It was located in an area hardest hit by the hurricane, at one point lying underneath 20 feet of water. Even today, one year later, the plant still has operational challenges. All communications are by satellite telephone.

The Headworks® Mahr® Bar screens have been the vanguard of the plant during this crisis. Six Mahr bar screens began operation at East Bank WWTP in 2001. Remarkably, the bar screens sustained no damage from the hurricane other than a few motors which submerged and had to be replaced. The endurance of the screens in the New Orleans East Bank Plant is a true testament of the strength and durability of the Headworks brand.

Before using the Headworks screen, the city of New Orleans protected their wastewater treatment plant with "climber" type screens. The climber screens required excessive maintenance and had a history of equipment failure causing channel flooding. When the East Bank Plant was in need of replacements, an alternative screening method was sought to avoid these problems. The bar screen was presented. The city was particularly intrigued by the lower bearings which improved engagement of the rake bars and enhanced the effective cleaning of the screenfield.

The engineers, operators, and management of the New Orleans Water & Sewer Boards contacted Headworks' references and learned of the long lasting design of the lower sprocket arrangement. As of today, none of these bar screens sold anywhere in the world has ever required the lower bearing to be replaced. And now that they have seen the screen in operation under the most extreme conditions ever experienced, the city is completely convinced that they have found the long term solution to their screening problems. The bar screen has been operating at East Bank WWTP virtually maintenance free, both before and after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

The six screens include four units each 10' wide x 17'3" high and two units 7' wide x 12'6" high, all with 3/8" bar spacing and handle 50.5 MGD each. The continuous high-frequency cleaning intervals eliminated the failures and blinding of the former "climber" type screens. The bar screens function to the full satisfaction of the client.

The robustness and endurance of the equipment during and after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita perfectly demonstrates that the Headworks Mahr Bar Screen is one of the toughest screens in the world.

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Also see: "Lindsborg wastewater treatment plant brushed up by a Spiralman"

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