That was Then…
In 1934, the original engineers for the Lincoln Tunnel did not have much to choose from in terms of dewatering pumps. They had to rely upon a relatively new concept of a self-priming pump which had the ability to keep its suction flooded and lift water from a lower level into its pumping guts/ impeller. This smaller pump was used in an integral position to prime the larger pumps which kept water from flooding the tunnel. At that time, as my deceased friend Robert McCarton told me, a company called Fredericks supplied a horizontal split cased pump to keep the tunnel dry. The small self-priming pump played an important role as the water level rose; it was the first pump that would start and its main role was to fill the three larger mid-river disaster pumps ensuring that all the air was evacuated from their cavities ensuring that the pump would prime instantly when required to do so.
This is now…
The little pump that played an integral in priming the larger pumps of the past has now evolved into a masterful feat of engineering designed and built by the Gorman-Rupp Company. The Port Authority asked what was best way to replace the old failing pumps and keep the tunnel dry. The answer was to replace the antiquated system with new pumps which did not require priming and were able to lift the water on their own. After years of training from Mr. Lawrence Rizzi of the Gorman-Rupp Pump Company, Mr. Callaghan advised Bob McCarton of the Port Authority to try the Gorman Rupp U Series pump. Over a 5 year trial period, the Gorman-Rupp pump required zero maintenance compared to that required by the other pumps in use which needed to be rebuilt twice a year due to grit, salt, and general road dirt. Consequently, the Port Authority made the move to replace all of its pumps in the Lincoln Tunnel with Gorman-Rupp U and Super U Series pumps. These pumps were in place when Super Storm Sandy hit the tri-state area. Performing as designed and expected, the pumps kept the tunnel dry providing the only path into and out of Manhattan for days.