Discussing current issues in engineering
With St. Patrick’s Day coming up, you might be looking forward to one of the many nationwide parades and celebrations, but did you know that St. Patrick is considered the patron saint of engineers?
While legend tells us that St. Patrick drove all the snakes out of Ireland, the Christian missionary and bishop is also credited with bringing Roman building technology to Ireland, teaching the Irish to build arches of lime mortar instead of dry masonry. This made him instrumental in the construction of clay churches in Ireland in the fifth century.
Due to this little-known fact, many engineering students across the United States celebrate St. Patrick’s day as a holiday set aside for engineers. The day is also one of spiritual renewal for those who celebrate its traditional meaning.
Don’t forget to wear green, and may the luck of the Irish (engineers) be with you!
Over ten years after the devastating Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans has just recently finished a $731 million Permanent Canal Closures and Pumps project as of April 2018, according to an article in the February issue of ASCE. The project consists of three massive pumping stations that are designed to reduce the city’s risk of flood surges with critical draining features in the event of another major storm.
The article gives a brief history on the greater New Orleans region’s propensity for severe flooding, most famously with Hurricane Katrina in 2005 which displaced 80% of its residents and caused numerous casualties.
Following Katrina, the city began to work on a Hurricane and Storm Damage Risk Reduction System, which includes a series of components designed to withstand a 100-year storm. The project includes an auxiliary building, a generator building, and a concrete bypass gate structure, ultimately isolating outfall canals to prevent them from running into Lake Pontchartrain.
Before this project, New Orleans relied on outdated pumping systems, which couldn’t keep up with the heavy flooding and so contributed to overflow. These updated pumping projects serve to protect residents and prevent severe damage in the case of another deadly storm, and are a critical example of the importance of smart, modern engineering technologies.
Colman Engineering, PLC
A professional engineering firm located in Harrisonburg, VA