Broken Generator Back Online But Pumping System Still Vulnerable

Aug 11, 2017

The Sewerage and Water Board generator that caught fire this week is back up and running.


There are five generators that power the city’s pumping system on the East Bank — all areas west of the Industrial Canal. Only two were working prior to Saturday’s floods.


Wednesday night, one of them caught fire and was rendered inoperable for more than 24 hours. That left the city even more vulnerable to flooding, and prompted two days of school closures. On Thursday both Governor John Bel Edwards and Mayor Mitch Landrieu signed emergency declarations as precautionary measures.

At a press conference Friday morning, Mayor Landrieu announced that the disabled generator had been repaired and was in the process of being slowly brought back online. Landrieu said that’s good news, but noted the system still isn’t prepared to handle heavy rain.


“We remain at risk if a major storm comes until we get additional turbines back up,” he said.


Landrieu said he’s hoping two of the other power generators will be up and running by the end of the month. In the meantime, the Sewerage and Water Board has ordered 26 smaller backup generators. As of this morning, six had arrived and the rest were in transit. Landrieu said those backups would be kept on hand at least through the end of hurricane season.


With rain still in the forecast, the city is giving out sandbags at the intersection of Perdido and S. Lopez Streets.


The National Weather Service predicts up to a quarter-inch of new rain each day this weekend — though amounts could be larger during storms.


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