Pump it up

Pump it up

Hurricane Sandy devastated the northeast United States and affected millions. Dozens were killed with the death toll still on the rise. Approximately 8 million people were left without electricity in the wake of the storm when it hit late Monday, Oct. 29. Floodwaters submerged city streets and water filled basements of residents in the storm zone. Desperate cities cried out for help after the tragic storm. New York City called out and National Pump & Compressor answered that call.

National Pump & Compressor (NPC) is a Beaumont-based company that provides pumps, compressors, dryers and related equipment to businesses and municipalities. According to NPC, the company serves customers at 34 branches in 11 states throughout the United States. The company was recently called upon to provide equipment and assistance in New York City in response to flooding caused by Hurricane Sandy.

Allison Robbins, marketing manager for NPC, said 25 of the company’s employees are in New York and have been since Nov. 1, pumping water out of basements and subway tunnels and doing what they can to help restore normalcy for the residents there.

“There are public housing units in Far Rockaway (a neighborhood on the Rockaway Peninsula in the New York City borough of Queens) and Coney Island that are flooded with up to 6 feet of water in the basements,” Robbins said. “The residents have no power.”

“The basements and boiler rooms of these public housing units need to be pumped dry in order to restore electricity,” NPC pump sales engineer Craig Johnson said. “Tens of thousands of people live in these buildings, and they are relying on us.”

NPC Vice President Michael Nix is in New York with his team.

“We have been working nonstop since Wednesday,” Nix said. “We are working with environmental and industrial restoration firms as well as government disaster relief groups to dewater the New York City subway tunnels, as well as hundreds of basements all over the city. This is by far the largest disaster recovery effort we’ve made in our company’s history.”

Nix said in addition to pumping water out of the basements of the huge public housing buildings, they are also pumping water out of the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel, officially known as the Hugh L. Carey Tunnel, a toll road in New York City that crosses under the East River at its mouth, connecting the borough of Brooklyn on Long Island with the borough of Manhattan. He said each side of the tunnel is flooded with approximately 47 million gallons of water.

Nix said the company has more than 125 Pioneer pumps that are 6 inches or larger and 65 12-inch-pumps in New York to work with in the flood relief effort. He said the company is utilizing approximately 500 2- and 3-inch pumps for the endeavor. Thousands of feet of pipe and hose are ready and waiting to be used as needed. NPC also set up generators and light towers at sites all over New York.

“As far as equipment goes, we also have about 200 light towers set up around the city,” Nix explained. He said many of the light towers have diesel engines and have generators built into them. He said the police utilize the light to watch the city streets and perform what duties they must while dealing with the crises faced by New York residents post-Sandy.

“A lot of them have power strips plugged in and people are using them to charge their cell phones or whatever they need,” Nix said of the generators.

Nix said he saw neighborhoods full of cars “piled on top of each other” in the streets. “You can see where the surge has pushed the sand from the coast back into the city for miles in Coney Island where we are,” Nix said. “There are cars flooded everywhere, I mean they were submerged in water, and they are never going to run again. It’s been an eye-opening experience.”

Nix said the residents of the buildings he and his team are pumping are glad they are there.

“The people are very grateful for what we’re doing,” Nix said. “We’re doing everything we can to help.”

NPC President Bill Kiker said he is glad to be a part of the disaster relief efforts.

“This is an unprecedented recovery effort for us,” Kiker said. “We are proud to be able to support this city in its time of need.”

Nix said his team would be in New York all day, every day pumping out the floodwaters until the city is dry.

“We will be here as long as it takes to make sure New York City gets back on its feet,” said Nix.

For more information, visit www.npcrents.com.