Guy Wiles from Dupont still has a catch in his voice when he talks about what happened to his plant last August 29th. Even though Dupont Delisle had prepared, and they thought they’d prepared well, they were wrong. Their 20 foot flood berm was overwhelmed by a 28 foot storm surge from Bay St Louis, and they wound up with 7 feet of water in the plant. Everywhere they’d put backups when they were getting ready for Katrina was flooded, and everything was lost. 12 people lived in the “Hurricane Dome” that had just been completed for 12 days and nights.
He showed pictures. “The one on the top left is a control room, the one on the bottom left shows the tank farm. The one on the top right shows a wiring chase, and the one on the bottom is a snake. He startled me, and he’s dead!”
The devastation at the Dupont TiO2 plant is unbelievable, even a year later. And then the awesome part began. By September 22, Dupont had let a purchase order for supply and construction to a team from Honeywell led by Bob Eubank who took over the talk. Working together, Dupont, Honeywell, and Honeywell’s contractor Triad, were able to upgrade and re-install over 20,000 I/O and over 100,000 wiring de-terminations and re-terminations, with no drawings, no place to live, no labor available, no place to eat, and competition from Louisiana plants who were bringing in cruise ships to use as housing while the Delisle crew lived in tents. “You Louisiana folks,” Wiles and Eubanks said, “We don’t like you very much right now.”
Yet despite all the hardships, the project was completed in just 11 weeks, a whole 11 days ahead of schedule.
There are simply no words to describe the magnitude of this undertaking.