NEW ORLEANS – Work has started to install generators to give the city’s pumping stations the needed redundancy to run the drainage pumps during hurricane season. So far, the installations and emergency repairs is costing millions.
The city announced that 26 generators arrived in the city and 18 of those are being installed at the Sewerage and Water Board’s power plant along the People’s Avenue Canal in the St. Roch neighborhood and at the main water plant on Claiborne Avenue in the Carrollton area. The rest will be spread out through the system.
The expected cost for the generators, including installation, is $7 million.
New Orleans Pump Crisis
Mayor Mitch Landrieu spoke about the work being done to bring 17 pumps back online at a Sewerage and Water Board committee board meeting on Monday.
“We've hired enough contractors to start working on all of the pumps that were down. We also, to be smart about this, we're looking at all the pumps that were not down to make sure they don't go down,” Landrieu said.
The Sewerage and Water Board will also be installing a new $15 million permanent generator . According to the city, the running tab for emergency repairs is $35 million. The board can allocate up to $85.3 million from its rainy day fund for this emergency.
“We're going to want to make sure that those expenditures are one, wise or prudent and that they're going to give us the real time relief that we're expecting,” Jason Williams, city council president, said.
A part of a pump that was pulled out of the pumping station on South Broad over the weekend showed that it is rusty, filthy and flaking. Parts of the pipe are also flaking off.
“It doesn't surprise me. Folks weren't honest with us about the condition of the system,” Williams said.
So far, the Sewerage and Water Board’s rainy day fund appears to be absorbing the major share of the emergency repairs. Williams said as the cost rises, the city may have to take money from capital outlay projects already approved and could possibly use money from the city’s general fund.