Hired by New Orleans Sewage & Water Board in 1899 to try to improve the flood prone city's drainage, Wood invented "flapgates" and other hydraulic devices, most notably efficient low maintenance high volume pumps, including The Wood Screw Pump (1913) and The Wood Trash Pump (1915). Wood spearheaded the reclamation from swamp and the efforts to make developable much of the land now occupied by the city of New Orleans.
While he spent most of his career in New Orleans, Wood also consulted and designed the drainage, pumping, and sewage systems for other locations including Chicago, Milwaukee, Baltimore, San Francisco, Ontario, Canada, as well as projects in Egypt, China, and India. His work was especially helpful in the Zuiderzee Works, which reclaimed large areas of land from the Zuider Zee in the Netherlands.
Some of Wood's pumps have been in almost continuous use in New Orleans for over 80 years without need of repairs, and new ones continue to be built from his designs.