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Moving Water Industries Responds

by William E. Bucknam
September 12th, 2007

This is in response to your article entitled “Levees: Moving Water” which was published on your web site on August 27, 2007. We deeply regret the fact that no one contacted us to hear our side of the story before you decided to recycle previously printed innuendo and outright falsehoods about the supply of our pumping equipment in New Orleans. In any event, we certainly welcome the opportunity to tell our side of this story now.

Moving Water Industries (“MWI”) was formed in Deerfield Beach, Florida in 1926 and today is one of the oldest continually operating companies in South Florida. A number of years ago the current president of MWI, David Eller, invented and patented the unique “Hydraflo” pump which could be easily installed, moved around to different locations as pumping needs changed and pump huge quantities of water. Today, over 8,000 Hydraflo Pumps are used throughout the world and they have been successfully used in Louisiana for flood control projects for over 25 years.

Shortly after Hurricane Katrina made landfall in Louisiana on August 29, 2005, the MWI Hydraflo began to play a key role in removing the flood waters from New Orleans. Experts originally estimated that it would take up to 90 days to remove all of the water. The 22 MWI Hydraflo Pumps that were quickly put in place between September 1 and October 1, 2005 provided over 800,000 gallons per minute of pumping capacity and helped remove water in a fraction of the original estimate thereby enabling the city’s pumping stations to get up and running again to complete the job. For more details about MWI’s history in New Orleans please refer to our corporate blog: mwicorp.blog.com

In late January, 2006 we were awarded a competitively bid contract to supply 34 sixty inch diameter Hydraflo Pumps and 37 drive units and to have them installed by the start of the hurricane season on June 1st. To give you some perspective on the overall dimensions of a sixty inch diameter Hydraflo, each unit weighs about 30,000 pounds and stands 20 feet tall. During our manufacturing process in 2006 we had over 70 people working 24 hours per day, six days a week and some Sundays in order to complete the job on time. Furthermore, we engaged 76 vendors from 19 different states which employ nearly 12,000 workers that supplied various components for these units. What you are suggesting by your unwarranted criticism of the award of this contract to our company is that the Army Corps should have awarded it to a company which submitted a more expensive bid, had absolutely no experience building a pump of this size and would surely never have shipped them in time to be installed for the start of the hurricane season.

Interestingly, the “federal audit” which you alluded to was conducted by the General Accountability Office and you neglected to point out that they concluded in their final report that MWI was the only company with any experience building a pump of this size. The GAO is now in the process of pursuing an additional inquiry and we welcome the opportunity to meet with them again.

We have been in this business for over 80 years because we make a quality product and because we stand behind what we manufacture. The pumps we supplied in New Orleans would have worked to protect the city during the 2006 hurricane season, and they will work to protect the city for this hurricane season and for many yet to come.

* The writer has been the Vice President and General Counsel of Moving Water Industries since September 11, 1981.