Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, two of the deadliest natural disasters in recent U.S. history, caused destruction throughout the Gulf Coast region in August and September, resulting in millions of people losing their homes and more than $100 billion in estimated damages.
In the aftermath of both catastrophic events, there was, and continues to be, a great need for clearing and reconstruction activity in the expansive area.
In the case of Hurricane Katrina, Ziegler, the Caterpillar dealer in Minnesota and Iowa, received a call from Caterpillar’s Gulf Coast regional district inquiring about inventory levels and machine availability.
Ziegler sent a total of 136 machines to the two Cat dealers in the region, mostly compact construction equipment (CCE) such as skid steer loaders and multi-terrain loaders, as well as larger wheel loaders and excavators.
“We did what we could to help,” said Jeff Schmidt, Ziegler Rental/CCE inventory and administration manager. “We arranged the freight, pre-delivering the machines as needed, and spent a lot of man hours making sure that every piece of equipment was in good working condition.”
Ziegler Power Systems (ZPS), a subsidiary of Ziegler, also was called to action, this time in anticipation of Hurricane Rita. Explorer Pipeline of Houston, TX, was in need of making sure two of its petroleum product pumping stations —for products such as gasoline, diesel fuel and jet fuel — remained up and running in case of a power outage.
ZPS engineers determined what power units would be necessary to maintain Explorer Pipeline’s operations and two 4,160 volt power modules, which arrived on Sept. 27, were shipped. Two Ziegler Power Systems employees spend a day and a half getting the modules connected, running, electrically phased together and put online to power the facility.
Once the units were in service and proven to be able to start and run two 600-hp and one 2,250-hp pumps, a 40-hour pumping cycle began, which required a ZPS employee to be on site at all times.
Conditions were certainly not ideal — the only hotel room they could find was two hours away and since the utility power was expected to be out for up to six weeks, a motor home was rented and parked on site for the duration of their stay.
The power modules ran well and were a perfect emergency power solution for Explorer Pipeline. The Ziegler Power Systems team who orchestrated the many details of this project earned high praises from Explorer Pipeline.