Mayor, Governor and City Officials Update on Diminished Storm Water Pumping Capacity
Last night, the Sewerage & Water Board lost service to one of its power turbines, which provides power to a majority of the City’s pumping stations serving the East Bank of New Orleans. As a result, the system’s capacity to drain storm water from the streets is diminished further for the East Bank of New Orleans, west of the Industrial Canal. Pumping stations in Algiers, New Orleans East and Lower Ninth Ward have diesel generators and therefore will not be impacted in this event.
This morning, Mayor Mitch Landrieu signed a declaration of emergency for the City of New Orleans and Governor John Bel Edwards signed an emergency declaration the State of Louisiana as well. The local disaster declaration is the first step toward a federal disaster declaration, which, under certain circumstances, allows the federal government to financially assist local and state governments recover from disasters.
Sewerage & Water Board crews are on site now working to repair the down turbine and to secure backup power to restore power to the pumping stations. In the interim, the City has ordered additional generators and portable diesel-powered pumps to assist in maintaining pumping capacity in the event of a loss of Entergy power during a large rain event. Twelve generators are currently en route and additional generators have been ordered.
If all of the power from Entergy continues, the City will be able to handle typical rainfall. The Sewerage and Water Board has 20 megawatts to power 38 of 58 available pumps. Showers and thunderstorms are likely this afternoon, according to the National Weather Service. Out of an abundance of caution, the City is urging residents in the affected area to move their vehicles to higher ground, take necessary actions to protect personal property, and stay off of roadways during rainstorms unless an emergency makes it absolutely necessary to do so. Residents will be allowed to park on the neutral ground, so long as to not block intersections or to park on streetcar tracks.
Residents should call 911 to report street flooding and life-threatening emergencies. Residents are advised to remain indoors during heavy rainfall. Residents should call 311 for non-emergency services and general information. 311 will be open Friday 7am to 7pm.
The Orleans Parish School Board has announced that all schools will continue to be closed on Friday, Aug. 11. Additionally, all Archdiocese of New Orleans schools will be closed on Friday.
At this time, drinking water and sewerage services for all of the city are not affected by this outage.
The City will keep residents updated through email alerts and Twitter @NOLAReady.