The Army Corps of Engineers has broken ground on a serious construction project: a 150,000-gallon-per-second, $500m 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 $14bn 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:
At any rate, the pump is expected to be operational—and NOLA slightly safer—by 2011. More at [PopSci]