Water pump timeline

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The street and curb of Electric Avenue were submerged at one point last week.Photo by Michael Bronfenbrenner

Dec. 22,  2016 Staff gets an “alert” from one pump and takes it off-line. It has been off-line ever since.

Per the Resolution adopted on Jan. 17, 2017, staff knew on Jan. 6 that both pumps were out and could not be fixed easily.

Jan. 9, 2017 Council meeting—no mention of any problems.

On the morning of Jan. 10, 2017, I went down to the station and saw only one of the city’s two portable rental pumps. This pump had a capacity of about 6 cubic feet per second. A pittance compared to the 200 cfs we lost. When rain started picking up at noon, I emailed staff to urge them to set up the second pump. They did this a couple of hours later after the rain had already stopped (giving us 12 cfs).

On the morning of Thursday, Jan. 12, we got 0.3 inches of rain between 8 and 9:10 a.m., an “every year” storm that nevertheless flooded Corsair, First Street, and the Seal Beach Shores (Flood #1). After the rain event had stopped at 9:10 a.m., I saw a third portable pump arriving at the pump station at 9:15 a.m. (bringing the total supplemental pumping to 19 cfs). At 2:23 pm that afternoon, the city issued a press release stating that staff would be declaring an emergency at the next council meeting on the Jan. 23 (in 11 days) ”to obtain approval of funds to make repairs.” At 6 p.m., I sent out my first email “update” to a large number of people including every council member.

The next day, Friday, Jan. 13, the city announces that there will be an emergency meeting on the following Tuesday.

At this emergency meeting on Jan. 17, staff tells the public that they are meeting with pump rental company to discuss getting additional pumps.

On Wednesday, Jan. 18, two larger pumps are added to the three smaller pumps. However, one of the three smaller pumps is not set up ready for pumping. The station now has a total supplemental capacity of 33 cfs (versus the 200 cfs lost).

On Friday, Jan. 20, Flood #2 hits Corsair, First Street, and the SB Shores after it rains about 0.8 inches in just under three hours, equivalent to a “2-year storm.”

In response, the city rents another larger pump and sets that up on Saturday, Jan. 21. The five pumps (three large, two small), now provide supplemental pumping of 43 cfs, or 22 percent of what was lost.

Jan. 22. Flood #3.

Jan. 24. Getting reports of a crane at pump station. Assistant City Manager Patrick Gallegos confirmed both pumps would be removed.

Water pump timeline