JT for July 26, 2018


JT has heard a lot of buzz about the Cane River/Red River pumping station. He didn’t understand the problem until a friend sat down and bent his ear recently. The pumping station pumps are pumping. The filters are not filtering. JT’s pal compared it to running the water from the Red River, and we all know it’s full of silt, debris and particles of all sorts, forms and fashions, and trying to sift it through a pair of silk stockings. Oh it filters, it catches everything from leaves to tree limbs to stirred up mud.

Then you have to clean it. And clean it. And clean it. Nonstop. There is no “pre-filter” to catch the big stuff before it gets to this silk stocking or tea bag sized screen so everything shows up and clogs the system. Water goes through well enough, but only what can weave its way through or around the debris stuck in the filter.

It’s like trying to run coffee beans through a keurig. It doesn’t work. The beans are too big, the filter is too small and the end result is a wasted coffee bean, which in JT’s opinion is an atrocity.

On paper, the engineers show it should work, but should and actually working in the real world with the muddy, mighty Red as a starting point is not practical. Or common sense. Why did the Commission use this particular firm? They submitted the low bid in the state bid process. They got the contract. Period.

JT is well enough informed he knows the Commission didn’t design the station, the contracted engineers did. They just didn’t factor in enough real life to make it operable. So where do they go from here? JT believes the engineers are really, really trying as hard as they might to find a solution because the alternative is a glaring Red mark (pun intended) on their resume. They contracted the job and they want to do it.

This reminds JT of a story about a car his dad owned in the 70s. It kept quitting. It would run fine then suddenly, JT and dad were on the side of the road. In and out of the shop and no one could find the problem. One day, the guy sweeping the floor spoke up. He, having been around every car in the shop for years, and being a practical soul, understood the issue better than the “newfangled” computers they were using to diagnose the problem. The gas tank filter was plugged up. Down came the tank and the filter was indeed a solid mass of gunk from a bad tank of gas. New filter, new life into that car.

By the same token, the engineers were not familiar with the Red River and all it carries. Maybe they should have talked to the fishermen and boaters first to better understand what they were dealing with. Could have prevented a lot of time, money, waste and frustration. Now JT hopes they understand what they’re up against and somehow make a silk purse out of this sow’s ear.

Oh, and JT learned one other little tidbit from his pal. There are no zebra mussels in Red River. The teeny tiny screens that will block the mussels’ larvae are a preventative measure. They thought ahead. Finally someone did find a vaccine before an outbreak, but they just didn’t make enough of it to be much use.