NEW ORLEANS – Pumping station No. 6 located on the 17th Street canal is a vital part of the storm water drainage system for both New Orleans and Jefferson Parish.
While crews are working around the clock to fix six out of the 15 pumps, New Orleans neighbors in the nearby Country Club Gardens subdivision wonder how the equipment they rely on to keep their families safe ended up in such bad shape.
“It's just unacceptable that this has been going on without our knowledge. I don't know, maybe we had a false sense of security,” one neighbor, Melinda Early, said.
“I asked my husband last week if we should start moving things into the attic in case of a flood. So, it's pretty scary,” another neighbor, Ginger Smith, said.
Mayor Mitch Landrieu told WWL Radio on Tuesday that 17-out-of-the-120 pumps across the city’s drainage system are still out of service. He also said that four pumps are now being repaired and work on seven pumps is expected to be underway shortly. Crews are also assessing six additional pumps to determine their short and long term problems.
The mayor admits the $35 million price tag for emergency repairs and emergency generators is just a starting point.
“I think the figure is going to be substantially higher when we actually get into what's broken, immediately, but it's not new to anybody in the city that we have an old, tired system that needs to be repaired and it costs a gargantuan amount of money,” Landrieu said.
On Tuesday, Entergy ran a new line to pumping station No. 6 to provide an additional power source to the Jefferson Parish side in case the Sewerage and Water Board loses power to the pumps.
“We do expect that one of the pumps that has been down at Station 6 on the 17th Street Canal is expected to come back online today which will be great news,” Jennifer Van Vrancken, Jefferson Parish Councilwoman of District 5, said.
In order to pin down a number on what the eventual price tag is, it might be determined after repairs are done to what’s broken at the Sewerage and Water Board. The mayor admits there is a half a billion dollar deficit for capital improvements through the city’s drainage system.