Friday, October 1st, 2010
By William Kincaid
Foundry takes on huge job
Workers cast diffusers for use in world's largest pump station in New Orleans
  ST. MARYS - These castings are big - so big, the St. Marys Foundry had to get a new crane hoist to pour and lift them.
The 27-ton diffuser castings will be part of the world's largest pump station being built in New Orleans by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, said Angela Molaskey, president and CEO of the St. Marys Foundry.
The West Bank pumping station, scheduled for completion in July, is intended to divert flood water in the event of a natural catastrophe from New Orleans to the Gulf of Mexico. The diffusers help improve the flow of water and can handle a pumping rate of 150,000 gallons per second.
The Foundry has one more diffuser to deliver to complete its order of 11, Terry Lenhart, vice president of operations, said. It likely will be shipped next week.
The 9-foot-tall diffusers - each with a 12-foot diameter - are the largest ever created at the foundry, Molaskey and Lenhart said. They required 74,000 pounds of iron.
"This is getting a lot of attention," Lenhart said, pointing out an article about the pump station published in Popular Science.
The West Bank pump station will never be tested until it is actually needed during a flood, Lenhart said. The station is designed to handle the amount of water associated with a 100-year-flood, the highest level of floodwaters a city can expect to see on average once every 100 years.
Molaskey said the foundry obtained the $500,000 dollar contract in October 2009, which stipulated that the diffusers be created by a U.S. company. The St. Marys Foundry was one of a few U.S. foundries capable of producing the massive castings, she said.
"We would like to grow that niche," she said about casting for pumps.
St. Marys Foundry largely produces for companies involved in the natural gas and oil processing fields, with a large share of its castings ending up overseas, Molaskey said.
In 1984, the company made a conscious decision to specialize in highly complex castings at low volumes to enable the foundry to remain competitive and stay in St. Marys, she said.
When the foundry received the New Orleans order in November, the employees were excited about working on a product that could one day save the city of New Orleans during a flood, Lenhart said.
"The excitement level was unbelievable," he said about the 115 employees.
Additional online stories for this date
Print edition only stories for this date
• Grand Lake waterfowl hunt gets green light
• Tip leads to arrest of Celina man wanted on sex offenses
• Man stabbed during domestic altercation
• Some lake-area residents get break on sewer fees
• Commissioners seek bids for ditch improvements
• All Bulldog players advance to semifinals
• Celina beats Elida to stay in league title hunt
• Minster golf starts drive to repeat as state champion
• Sprint cars featured at Eldora on Saturday
a_d
Friday Night
63°
Mostly Cloudy
14%
Saturday
84°
Chance Thunderstorms
41%
Saturday Night
70°
Thunderstorms Likely
61%
Sunday
83°
Severe Tstms
62%
Sunday Night
61°
Chance Thunderstorms
32%
Monday
72°
Chance Rain Showers
54%
Monday Night
54°
Partly Cloudy
14%
Tuesday
71°
Partly Sunny
11%
Tuesday Night
54°
Mostly Clear
8%
Wednesday
76°
Mostly Cloudy
17%
Wednesday Night
57°
Partly Cloudy
14%
3 Day
Extended
a_da_d