New Orleans mayor says more generators on way

Pauline Gross
August 13, 2017

Forecasters say the threat of thunderstorms over New Orleans will continue Friday as residents worry about neighborhoods left vulnerable to flooding because of a damaged water pumping system. A fire also left the city with only one of five generators needed to power the pumps to remove the water.

At that meeting, officials conceded for the first time that the drainage system had been operating well below its capacity in the August 5 flood because of out-of-service pumps and power shortages.

New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu gave an updated status of the pumping system Sunday morning and while the situation is improving, it now is only at the capacity that it was on August 5.

"As a leader in this city I cannot make good decisions unless I have information that I can trust", a visibly agitated Landrieu said Sunday morning.

As a result, all areas west of the Industrial Canal in Orleans Parish are extremely susceptible to flooding, and the Sewerage and Water Board will not be able to drain flooded streets effectively until full power is restored to the system.

The mayor said additional 3rd party technical expertise has been brought in to assess the situation.

Twenty-two new generators are being hooked up to the New Orleans Sewerage and Water Board power system to augment backup power through the rest of this hurricane season. In addition, the 17 broken pumps are being repaired while the other 103 pumps are being worked on.

To better power the pumps in the interim, 22 emergency generators have arrived and four more should arrive from Miami by the end of today.

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But until all the generators are set up or the other turbines are online, which could take several weeks, New Orleans remains "at risk", Landrieu said. "We have what we need in the event of a typical rainfall, but we do not have what we need in the event of a deluge", he said.

Landrieu said the status of individual pumps and repairs will be posted on the S&WB website, and the Board's logs have also been released for public review.

Louisiana's governor has declared a state of emergency in New Orleans as workers scramble to fix fire-damaged equipment at a power plant and shore up its drainage system.

The mayor conceded that not all of the pumping stations were manned at the time of last week's flooding event.

This fall, New Orleans votes for a new mayor, and candidates are weighing in.

"We have to have a commission of citizens to do oversite", said Scurlock.

"I didn't need to read the logs to know this part of the city wasn't draining", said Michelle Douglas with the Lakeview Civic Improvement Association. "I own it, I accept it and I am taking responsibility to fix it".

Other reports by GizPress

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