Gifted student engineers new idea

6:45 PM, Jan 10, 2012   |    comments
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The Preston Middle School seventh-grader began working on a water pump during the summer that would move excess water from the Souris River to the Missouri River, preventing potentially disastrous flooding conditions similar to a 2011 flood that caused about $1 billion in damages.

"The existing solutions are sandbagging homes and schools or evacuating, but neither work because floods still occur," Tetley, 13, said. "My idea was to use a concrete pipe to transfer water from one river to the other, limiting flooding in the area."

The Flood Mitigator 2011-PAT, or Palmer Anthony Tetley, would use a series of pumps and pipes to mitigate flooding in Minot, N.D., what Palmer called a "current generation" solution using existing technologies.

Tetley's interest in finding a flooding solution was sparked by family trips to the area, where his father works in oil fields.

"It's not like we can have a teleportation system," he said. "Not yet, at least. The pump will be simple and reliable."

Tetley said the project would require 45,000 pieces of pipe, costing about $250 million for supplies and an estimated $1 billion after labor costs.

But despite a seemingly high price tag, Tetley said the benefits for the area would be priceless.

"It would save billions of dollars over time, last a long time and you wouldn't have to protect everything when high rains come," he said. "That pipe could last more than 100 years."

Tetley's innovative project, which was sparked from his search for his fall semester Gifted and Talent passion project, garnered attention from North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple, who invited Tetley to present his project during a December trip.

"It was a neat experience meeting him because I've never met a governor," Tetley said. "Showing this to him and hearing his support really made me think that I can do a lot, even though I'm not that old."

This story written by Sarah Jane Kyle, Fort Collins Coloradoan.

(Copyright © 2012 Fort Collins Coloradoan, All Rights Reserved)

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