Vandals disable St. Charles pumping station

Published 12:00 am Saturday, August 14, 2010



ST. ROSE – St. Charles Parish officials said Thursday that vandals threw debris at the Oak Street pumping station causing drainage equipment to malfunction and become inoperable during Wednesday night’s heavy rainfall.

Renee Simpson, public information officer for St. Charles Parish, said the damage was discovered early Thursday morning by public works maintenance crews, who were checking operations at several area pump stations.

Simpson said the vandals also spray painted names and other graffiti on the pump station’s concrete.

“Crews were out during the rain event and discovered it early in the morning,” Simpson said. “Although the station was inoperable for some amount of time, the issue did not cause further escalation of street flooding in the St. Rose area. The maintenance crews were able to have it back up and running within an hour after the damage was discovered.”

St. Charles Assistant Public Works Superintendant Chris Tregre said the vandals had thrown debris found near a railroad track adjacent to the pumping station and snarled the inner workings of the system.

“The vandals literally threw rocks and pieces of wood over the station’s fence and down the float tubes, causing the float ball to dislodge from its rod,” Tregre said. “The float ball triggers the automatic start and stop switch for the pump.”

Simpson said the parish is having metal boxes installed over the float tubes at this and all other pumping stations in the parish to prevent future damage. She said public works was able to fix the damage in house with its own electrician and spare parts. She said there was no determined dollar amount loss as a result of the damage.

Simpson said parish officials continue to encourage the public to call the St. Charles Sheriff’s Office at 985-783-6807 or the Emergency Operations Center at 985-783-5050 to report young people playing or even loitering around parish pumping stations.

“This activity can easily cause street and/or home flooding that could do damage to homes and property,” she said.

The incident is under investigation by the St. Charles Sheriff’s Office.