Thompson Pump Captures ENR Southeast Award of Merit for Providing Relief in Puerto Rico During Hurricane Maria

Thompson Pump and Manufacturing Company is proud to announce it is the winner of the 2019 Engineering News-Record (ENR) Award of Merit in the Water/Environment category for its work in Puerto Rico during the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Maria, which made landfall in September 2017.

In the weeks and months after their arrival in Puerto Rico, the Thompson Pump crew’s efforts helped save an entire community from a potentially catastrophic flood, and provided safe drinking water to more than 200,000 people.

“It’s such an honor to be recognized for the work we did in Puerto Rico,” said Bobby Zitzka, Thompson Pump’s National Sales Manager. “The destruction we encountered was unimaginable. Without hesitation our team, both on the ground in Puerto Rico and home in Florida, immediately got to work to make sure we could do whatever was possible to help the people through this extremely challenging time.”

The sustained 150 mile-per-hour winds and 30-plus inches of rains left behind by Hurricane Maria caused a shocking path of destruction. The selfless efforts by Thompson’s employees and the company’s high-quality equipment were literally life-saving.

A team of 13 Thompson Pump workers arrived in Puerto Rico soon after the storm and got to work. One of their first tasks was formulating a strategy to help save a large community of residents living downstream from the Guajataca Dam. The dam’s spillway failed during the hurricane, causing an outpouring of water that brought about major erosion, necessitating the evacuation of 70,000 area homes. Conditions were so dire that, during and immediately after the storm, there was a real fear they could lose the dam entirely.

As Thompson Pump lowered the dam’s water level, thus alleviating the possibility of major flooding, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers officials realized Thompson’s workers and equipment could be utilized for yet another vital purpose – providing drinking water for almost a quarter of a million people desperate for it.

Thompson Pump employees look back upon their time in Puerto Rico as an unforgettable experience; the devastation left behind by the storm, the resilience and gratitude of the local citizens, and the satisfaction of knowing they played a part in positively impacting thousands of lives.