Portadam Helps Maintain Peace of Mind

In spring 2011, the Mississippi River swelled and washed over everything in its path, but the Fitz Casino & Hotel Tunica in Robinsonville, Miss., stood calmly in the midst of it all. Resembling a castle on its own island, a portable cofferdam called a Portadam® kept the Fitz dry—and for that, the Director of Facilities Cecil Hanks is thankful.

“It worked fantastic, and we felt we could have easily stayed dry even if the river had risen two to three feet more,” he said.

The Fitz had been using another product to protect from the rising waters, but the company could not supply them with the amount of product needed, and the setup of the product was time-consuming. By switching to Portadam, Hanks says the property saved itself valuable time and thousands of dollars in water damage. Portadam engineers flood protection and water retention products, such as its namesake Portadam cofferdam system.

“No one is ever excited to find out that they could be flooded,” Hanks said. “With our property sitting on the riverbank, completely exposed, we knew we had to get a jump on the situation quickly if we were to keep our property protected. Just knowing that Portadam had enough product to surround the property was a welcome feeling.”

The 7-foot high version of Portadam’s portable cofferdam product was air lifted to the property due to flooding on the road entrance. Two Portadam representatives teamed with the Fitz’s ground crew, and the whole water retention system was up in about three days. “The guys they [Portadam] sent were professional and knew what they were doing. They were willing to work with us any way they could,” Hanks said. “They were a good crew and very helpful.”

Bob Gatta, Portadam CEO
Bob Gatta, Portadam CEO
And that’s what Portadam is all about—protecting property and exceeding customer expectations. “Most people are surprised at how quickly it’s installed, and they’re even more surprised that the system can be installed quickly with fast-flowing water and debris present,” said Portadam CEO Bob Gatta.

On average, a crew of eight to 10 laborers working with the 5-foot Portadam frames can erect approximately 100 linear feet of product per hour. When Portadam assisted with flood protection in Fargo, N.D., in spring 2011, 1,600 linear feet of product was erected in less than 20 hours.

Once a property decides they need a cofferdam system, all they have to do is call Portadam. A Portadam representative is sent to evaluate the property as soon as possible—a representative was sent to the Fitz by the next morning—to inform the customer of the product’s capabilities. Additionally, Portadam has to review the potential system location to ensure that the Portadam footprint for the requested height will fit within the specified area. Based on the site review, Portadam will get product on the road either that day or the following day and will have a plan in place to satisfy the requirement. When the product is no longer needed, it is packed up for shipment back to a Portadam facility where it’s washed, repaired and 100 percent inspected to ensure both product integrity and the removal of all foreign materials prior to shipment to the next job site. This eliminates the concern of cross contamination between job sites and from waterway to waterway.

“Portadam provides time-proven, environmentally friendly products that enable its customers to solve problems associated with water diversion and storage in the infrastructure and energy markets,” Gatta said.

It took only three days for the water retention system to be up, protecting the casino.
It took only three days for the water retention system to be up, protecting the casino.
Since its inception in 1974, the Portadam cofferdam system has provided flood protection for a countless number of customers, and the product hasn’t changed much. In the late 1990s, a 3-foot high system was added to the lineup, followed by a 12-foot high system that was added in February. The environmentally friendly, versatile and cost-effective nature of the Portadam system makes it stand out from older—and newer—technologies. Portadam’s product is also used in the oil and gas markets for water storage. Gatta says the product stands up to varying technologies that divert and store water in those markets, and he adds that in water diversion and infrastructure markets, Portadam comes out on top against older technologies of earthen dams and sheet pilings and new technologies of water-filled bladders.

Cecil Hanks, Fitz Director of Facilities
Cecil Hanks, Fitz Director of Facilities
The company introduced an engineered Portabasin product in April, and is beginning to put that product to use too. The Portabasin is a series of round circular tanks that are standard diameters and 12 feet high, used to store water used in oil and gas exploration and production. Besides promoting their new and tried-and-true products, the company attends industry trade shows such as the World of Concrete, International Erosion Control, ConExpo, NUCA (National Utilities Contractors Association), regional UCA shows, shale gas water management shows, DUG East and DUG West.

Looking to the future, the company is working to continue expansion into other geographies and is educating people about its environmentally friendly water diversion and storage products that serve the infrastructure and oil and gas markets. Portadam hopes to continue its growth and continue to do what it does best—helping people.

“It was a great feeling to help the Fitz, particularly knowing that our system not only saved the property from substantial water damage and expense, but more importantly, that by saving this property, it allowed the Fitz employees to get back to work directly after the flood,” Gatta said. “Helping those families was one of the greatest experiences since I’ve been with Portadam.”