UPDATE: 'power fluctuation' causes boil water advisory for East Bank of New Orleans
A "power fluctuation" caused a widespread drop in water pressure in New Orleans Wednesday morning.
According to Sewerage and Water Board officials, the fluctuation caused the city to issue a precautionary boil water advisory for the entire east bank of Orleans Parish until further notice.
Turbine 6 went down at the S&WB, causing water pressure to drop below 15 psi, the threshold that prevents contamination in the system. Once Turbine 6 went down, it took about 20 minutes to switch to Entergy power according to Paul Rainwater with the S&WB's board.
"Although water pressure at the plant remained above the threshold during the outage, water pressure dropped below 15 p.s.i. at other gauges throughout the east bank of Orleans Parish. The subsequent readings triggered the need for the precautionary boil water advisory," a statement from S&WB said.
Turbine 1 is currently the only turbine generating power at the S&WB right now, according to Rainwater. It's capability is lower than others.
Residents on the east bank are advised: "not to drink, make ice, brush teeth, until further notice."
Residents that are immune compromised are advised to not wash hands, shower or bathe.
When washing hands, use soap and tap water, dry hands then apply hand sanitizer. The safest option is to wash with safe water.
When taking a shower or bath, be careful not swallow any water.
"Using caution when bathing infants and young children so that no water is swallowed is considered fairly safe," S&WB said. "A sponge bath reduces the chance of swallowing water. The time bathing should be minimized."
S&WB along with the Louisiana Department of Health is now testing water samples. The advisory will last "until further notice," but samples typically take around 24 hours to process.
This is at least the seventh boil-water advisory issued since Hurricane Katrina’s floodwaters damaged the S&WB’s plant on South Claiborne Avenue.
The S&WB is in the process of building two massive water tanks designed to stop drops in pressure that result in boil-water advisories.
The two 200-foot-tall tanks will hold four-million gallons of water. If a power loss happens, the towers will provide uninterrupted water pressure. The project is expected to be done early next year.
The S&WB usually has four pumps running at any time to keep pressure on the city’s water system at about 68 pounds per square inch. A boil-water advisory is issued anytime the pressure falls below 15 psi. Such drops can allow harmful bacteria to seep into the pipes.
Landrieu's office released the following statement about the issue:
"This morning, there was a power fluctuation at the Sewerage & Water Board Carrollton Plant which caused a momentary drop in water pressure."
Several residents across New Orleans took to social media to report low water pressure at their homes. Users reported issues in Bywater, Garden District, Midcity, Uptown and in the Marigny area.
“Got virtually nothing coming out of the faucet in the Lower Garden District too,” Brett Michael tweeted.
Low water pressure here in Mid City means Oscar gets some hurricane stash water bc this dog mom doesn't know what's up. pic.twitter.com/7OGTPQ5szy— chelsea brasted (@cabrasted) September 20, 2017
This is a developing story.
Editor's note: A previous version of this story said Sewerage and Water Board reported the power fluctuation. The information was released from Mayor Mitch Landrieu's Office.