SWBNO: All Pumps Operational But “Residents Should Prepare for Likely Street Flooding”

Image courtesy of SWBNO

With two tropical systems set to impact the New Orleans area this week, the New Orleans Sewerage and Water Board (SWBNO) is racing to complete infrastructure work and pump repairs before the systems arrive. Hurricane Marco is forecast to impact the New Orleans area on Monday morning, with what is expected to become Hurricane Laura following on Wednesday.

According to SWBNO, repair work on Pump E was completed this morning, and all 99 of the city’s drainage pumps are available for service. Turbines 1, 3, 4, and 6 are also available for service, with all five of the utility’s Electro-Motive Diesel generators ready to go.

SWBNO did note that there is one constant-duty pump out of service, but said that “these are smaller units used to regulate groundwater in canals and are not large enough to be critical during a flood fight.” However, the SWBNO emphasized that this does not mean the city will not have any flooding.

“It is also important to emphasize that our drainage system is old and can be vulnerable to storm-related challenges,” SWBNO said in a social media post. “Residents should prepare for likely street flooding and pooling in low-lying areas. All underpasses should also be avoided because they are prone to flooding.”

In addition to pump repairs, canal inspections, and other pre-hurricane preparations, SWBNO is hoping to finish the installation of a 50-inch diameter gate valve on Florida Avenue, which will provide additional water flow to the lower 9th ward, Bywater and Gentilly areas. That installation is expected to be completed this afternoon. However, at 1:15pm, SWBNO issued a boil water notice for portions of those areas after crews completing the valve work noted a drop in pressure.

Image courtesy SWBNO

Residents affected by the boil water notice should use bottled or build tap water for drinking, cooking, cleaning food, or brushing teeth, and washing hands until the notice is lifted. Those with compromised immune systems should also use bottled or boiled tap water for bathing.

“We agree with the recommendations of LDH that it is prudent to issue these advisories out of an abundance of caution. The concern is that a pressure drop inside a water pipe could allow bacteriological contaminants to enter,” SWBNO stated.

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