Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans Provides Winter Weather Update
Today, the Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans (SWBNO) provided an update on preparations for freezing temperatures and potential impacts.
What Residents Can Do During a Freeze
- When the outdoor temperature approaches 32 degrees, turn on the indoor faucet farthest away from your water meter. Run only one faucet with no more than a trickle or water, about as thin as a standard strand of spaghetti, to minimize the chance of water freezing in your pipes.
- Do not run more than one faucet, and do not run any faucet at full blast. It is unnecessary and can be expensive for customers. It can also contribute to lower water pressures across the city, risking the potential for a precautionary boil water advisory.
- Open the doors to cabinets where your pipes are located to allow heat from the rest of the building to warm them.
- Open interior doors to allow heat to pass from room to room.
- Disconnect garden hoses.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Residents, businesses and schools that have gone unoccupied during the pandemic should take these same precautions.
What Residents Can Expect During the Freeze
SWBNO needs power to operate pumps that bring drinking water to you from our Carrollton Water Plant. With two of our major turbines out of service for repairs, we do not have enough redundant or “extra” power to operate the system if a piece of equipment goes down. Thanks to our partners at the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP) and the New Orleans Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (NOHSEP), we now have two additional generators that will give us an added 4 MW of power. While this adds some redundancy, it is still not enough to put us in a completely comfortable position regarding power.
During a hard freeze like the one we’re facing, our power system will be impacted in a couple of ways:
- There will be a higher demand for water due to residents running water to prevent frozen pipes.
- There is a higher likelihood of water freezing in pipes on private property, causing a spike in water main breaks which will lead to a drop in water pressure.
What residents can expect to experience:
- Water line ruptures
- Lower than normal water pressure
- Boil water advisories are likely across the city
- We need more power to respond to change in conditions but may have a harder time maintaining pressure if the freeze causes main breaks, as we expect.
What Residents Should Do After a Freeze
- Thoroughly inspect your property
- If you have a broken pipe or leak
- Call a licensed plumber immediately
- Turn off and drain water in your house by locating the main like from your water meter. Turn off the valve that enters your house.
- Then run all your indoor faucets to drain water from your pipes.
- Disconnect garden hoses and hoses to your washing machine.
- Failing to swiftly address a broken pipe will cause further damage and impact your water bill.
When to Call 52-WATER
Our Customer Service Call Center will be staffed throughout the winter weather event. We encourage residents to call 52-WATER to report water main breaks in the public right-of-way. For any water line breaks on private property, please call a licensed plumber.
It will take a citywide effort to get through this freeze. We urge all residents to adhere to these guidelines. For more information on how to “Fight the Freeze” visit our website at swbno.org and follow us on social media at @SWBNewOrleans.