Friday, October 1st, 2010

Foundry takes on huge job

Workers cast diffusers for use in world's largest pump station in New Orleans

By William Kincaid

Workers of St. Marys Foundry stand in front of a 27-ton diffuser casting made by. . .

ST. MARYS - These castings are big - so big, the St. Marys Foundry had to get a new crane hoist to pour and lift them.
The 27-ton diffuser castings will be part of the world's largest pump station being built in New Orleans by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, said Angela Molaskey, president and CEO of the St. Marys Foundry.
The West Bank pumping station, scheduled for completion in July, is intended to divert flood water in the event of a natural catastrophe from New Orleans to the Gulf of Mexico. The diffusers help improve the flow of water and can handle a pumping rate of 150,000 gallons per second.
The Foundry has one more diffuser to deliver to complete its order of 11, Terry Lenhart, vice president of operations, said. It likely will be shipped next week.
The 9-foot-tall diffusers - each with a 12-foot diameter - are the largest ever created at the foundry, Molaskey and Lenhart said. They required 74,000 pounds of iron.
"This is getting a lot of attention," Lenhart said, pointing out an article about the pump station published in Popular Science.
The West Bank pump station will never be tested until it is actually needed during a flood, Lenhart said. The station is designed to handle the amount of water associated with a 100-year-flood, the highest level of floodwaters a city can expect to see on average once every 100 years.
Molaskey said the foundry obtained the $500,000 dollar contract in October 2009, which stipulated that the diffusers be created by a U.S. company. The St. Marys Foundry was one of a few U.S. foundries capable of producing the massive castings, she said.
"We would like to grow that niche," she said about casting for pumps.
St. Marys Foundry largely produces for companies involved in the natural gas and oil processing fields, with a large share of its castings ending up overseas, Molaskey said.
In 1984, the company made a conscious decision to specialize in highly complex castings at low volumes to enable the foundry to remain competitive and stay in St. Marys, she said.
When the foundry received the New Orleans order in November, the employees were excited about working on a product that could one day save the city of New Orleans during a flood, Lenhart said.
"The excitement level was unbelievable," he said about the 115 employees.
Additional online stories on this date
CELINA - Mackenzi Rutschilling said she and her friends had reservations about entering their senior year at Celina High School with the new schedule system. [More]
MINSTER - What looked to be an intriguing Midwest Athletic Conference matchup turned into an unexpected romp on Thursday night at Wildcat Gymnasium [More]
Subscriber and paid stories on this date
Season had been in question due to water quality advisory
GRAND LAKE - Waterfowl hunting will proceed on Grand Lake this year, but hunters are being told to minimize their retriever dogs' contact with the water.
A tip from a person checking the Mercer County Sheriff's Office website has led to the arrest of a former Celina man sought in connection with alleged sex offenses.
A Celina man faces preliminary charges of domestic violence and felonious assault stemming from an altercation early Thursday morning that led to a stabbing.
Property owners in the Grand Lake St. Marys Southeast Sanitary Sewer District are getting an early Christmas gift: fees ending one year early.
On T
ROCKFORD - Mercer County commissioners are seeking bids for a nearly $100,000 ditch project in Blackcreek Township.
On Thursday, commissioners set the opening of sealed bids for 2 p.m. Oct. 19 at their office in the Central Services Building in Celina.
WBL crown comes down to Celina and Shawnee
LIMA - The Celina girls tennis team inched closer to winning the overall Western Buckeye League title after a dominating opening day at the league tennis tournament on Thursday at the University of Northwestern Ohio.
CELINA - For Celina to keep itself in contention for the Western Buckeye League girls soccer title, it would take wins - not ties - in the final four matches to stay in the chase.
Local Roundup
Compiled by Gary R. Rasberry
Minster's drive to repeat at Division III boys state golf champion got off to a good start on Thursday after qualifying as a team for districts at the sectional tournament at Hawthorne Hills Golf Course in Lima.
Sprint cars, sprint cars and more sprint cars are set to attack the high banks of Eldora Speedway on Saturday evening.
The third annual Universit