The pumping station at the West Closure Complex in Belle Chasse is located just outside the city on the Westbank and is recognized as the LARGEST pumping station in the world!! It’s no surprise that New Orleans is the home of the largest pumping station in the world. The whole country and even the world received an education on the geography of New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina and the numerous levee failures flooded 80% of the city. New Orleans is below sea level so we are basically living in a bowl protected with natural and man-made levees all around us that keep the surrounding water from flowing into the city. Since the city is below sea level, the Sewerage and Water Board developed an extensive network of levees, canals, and pumping stations built in the early 20th century to drain water from the city, so that new housing developments and infrastructure could be built on solid ground. The soil here is like pudding or jello but it’s more solid than water! The water management system in New Orleans has been a topic of discussion worlwide following the devastation that occurred in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Sandy in New York City. The Army Corps of Engineers has been working to improve the drainage system so that New Orleans will be protected from future storms like Katrina. One of the new facilities that has been constructed to improve the system is the West Closure Complex just south of Harvey, LA. Its 225 ft sector gate and 11 bay pumping station have taken the burden of flood protection off of 26 miles of flood walls and levees that line the Harvey and Algiers canals. The massive pumping station has a capacity of 19,140 cubic feet per second; at this rate it could fill an Olympic sized swimming pool in less than five seconds! To understand just how impressive this engineering feat is, we recommend seeing it for yourself! They even offer FREE tours to interested parties, and are incredibly generous educators.