New Orleans resident fearful of asphalt partially blocking catch basins
NEW ORLEANS -- Dragging the lid of a catch basin that sits off South Claiborne Avenue, you can see just how deep the drain goes.
"Here's an example though of an actual working, clean catch basin," Drew Ward said. "About as rare as you can get in New Orleans."
Ward has spent more than five years educating himself on catch basins and the city's infrastructure.
After the Army Corps of Engineer's completed its Southeast Louisiana Drainage Program, or SELA project along Clairborne Avenue, Ward saw that something wasn't right.
"In each of these holes though, that's solid asphalt," Ward said.
Ward says the asphalt laid in front of the catch basins is too high, blocking them more than 70 percent in most cases.
That is not his only concern. Ward says the neutral ground built on an elevated level increases the flow of water trying to drain into the catch basins.
"They actually have to have the corps come out and address within proper water management standards, the water holding ability and the water absorbing ability of these neutral grounds," Ward said. "This is a huge expansive space. The water right now will go into the road. It needs to be doing the opposite."
The Army Corps of Engineers tells Eyewitness News that the Sewerage and Water Board designed the construction project and that the catch basins installed are in accordance with the City of New Orleans Department of Public Works standards.
Ward says whether it was designed a certain way or not, it is flawed.
"Even if there still needs to be a few inches of asphalt added, the water there for every single catch basin is blocked. They haven't finished it, but they need to go and correct it," Ward said.
The City of New Orleans said the last comprehensive inspection of the condition of the drain lines in the flooded area was completed following Hurricane Katrina. Outside of that, the Department of Public Works deploys up-to five vacuum truck crews Monday through Friday to clean and unclog catch basins and flush drain lines based on 311 requests.
As of July 1, 2017, there were a 3,374 open service requests in 311 related to drainage and street flooding.
This year, DPW has cleaned in front of 4,046 drainage catch basins; unclogged 3,658 drainage catch basins; flushed over 68 miles of drain lines; replaced 75 broken catch basins and covers; and completed 2 drainage point repairs with an additional 10 currently under construction and set to be completed in the next 30 days.