Published: Sun, August 13, 2017
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Damaged drainage system in flooded New Orleans is almost repaired

Damaged drainage system in flooded New Orleans is almost repaired

During a press conference Thursday, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu acknowledged that the situation was "serious" but urged residents not to panic.

Landrieu said that in addition to the 17 known pumps that are now not operational, he said there are likely capacity and maintenance issues with numerous 103 pumps that help drain the city (areas in New Orleans East, the Lower Ninth Ward and Algiers are not affected by this current pump situation).

Crews are working to fix the turbine and secure backup power, but until that work is complete, the city is urging residents in the affected areas to move their vehicles to higher ground and stay off roadways during rainfall.

The New Orleans Sewage & Water Board has since admitted to being ill-prepared for the recent flood, which overwhelmed the city's pumps and drainage system resulting in several broken pipes.

Landrieu said his information came in part based on a review of logs released Friday that seemed to highlight new gaps in the operation of New Orleans' complex pumping system on August 5 as water filled the city's streets, damaging cars, residences and businesses.

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"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.

The mayor said additional 3rd party technical expertise has been brought in to assess the situation. City officials initially insisted the pumps that move water out of the low-lying city were operating properly, but later acknowledged there were problems.

"We are as ready as we can be for hurricane season, but for the next 14 days, we are more vulnerable", Landrieu said.

"As we do the after-action report", he says, "we will look at how much money will be needed to fix the whole drainage system".

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.

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"We need prisoners from Orleans Parish Prison over to remove the debris", said mayoral candidate Frank Scurlock.

Heavy flooding in New Orleans drove Louisiana Gov. Gov. John Bel Edwards to declare a preemptive state of emergency Friday (Aug. 11) as more rain is expected to drench the area.

As the candidates discuss a major new campaign issue, we learn more about what was, and wasn't working during last week's flood, at the 17th Street Canal pumping station, which services Orleans and Jefferson.

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.

"For everything we do, there's always a cost, there's always a sacrifice and somebody always has to pay", Landrieu said.

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"The buck ultimately stops with me", he said. "I own it. I accept it".

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