NEW ORLEANS -- The first of millions of dollars to begin a massive project to clean and repair thousands of catch basins across the city and to pay for an after-action report began to flow Thursday.

On Thursday, the City Council approved nearly $12 million that will be used to fund:

- $7 million to clean and repair catch basins ($14.2 million is already available)

- $650,000 to install underpass warning systems

- $3 million for homeland security measures

- $500,000 for the after-action report to determine what did and did not work after the July 22 and Aug. 5 floods.

Clogged catch basins have been pegged as one of the issues that helped to exacerbate the flooding.

Mayor Mitch Landrieu said Wednesday during the Sewerage & Water Board’s Executive Board meeting that there are 15,000 of the city’s 65,000 catch basins that need more than just clearing by hand.

Two contracts will allow the city to spend $7 million on catch basin cleaning and $13 million on catch basin repairs.

Another $350,000 will be spent on a new vacuum truck, while $1.6 million is set aside for construction inspection services.

For all the money already being shelled out to handle immediate repairs, that is just a fraction of what it would take to even figure out just how bad the city’s catch basins and drainage pipes are, said Dani Galloway, interim director of the Department of Public Works.

“We will need about $50 million to assess the whole minor drainage system,” Galloway told District B Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell.

“Fifty million, you say?” Cantrell asked.

“Yes,” Galloway said. “And that’s just to assess it.”

Also during Thursday’s special council meeting:

- Council President Jason Williams asking the administration to request a forensic audit of all money received and spent by the Sewerage & Water Board since Hurricane Katrina.

-The council deferred voting on appointing Stacy Horn-Koch to the S&WB Board of Directors and reappointing Joseph Peychaud.