NEW ORLEANS – A damaged turbine that is crucial to the city’s ability to pump water out was being repaired and slowly brought back online Friday and more than two dozen backup generators were either on site or on the way to the city’s main power station for pumps for most of the east bank.
Mayor Mitch Landrieu said on Friday morning that it could take up to 24 hours to bring the power-generating turbine back to full capacity.
“The report as of now is that it’s doing well,” Landrieu said. “We expect that it will gradually come back online throughout the day, if the tests are successful.”
New Orleans Pump Crisis
Sewerage and Water Board and General Electric crews worked around the clock to make emergency repairs to the turbine.
The outage, announced to most of the city through a 3 a.m. high-pitched alert to their phones, exposed troubling vulnerabilities in the antiquated, pre-World War II equipment used to drain city streets during heavy rain storms.
The fire left only one of five giant turbines working to supply power to drainage pumps across the east bank.
Even with the second turbine coming back to life, the mayor said the city remained in a state of crisis.
At least 16 of 121 drainage pumps were not working during Saturday’s flooding in Lakeview, Mid-City and Treme.
The 26 generators that are arriving in the city will remain for the rest of hurricane season.
City leaders are also pushing the Sewerage and Water Board to fix the broken pumps and the three non-working turbines as soon as possible.
“What is clear to me today, is that we remain at risk if a major storm comes until we get additional turbines back up, which we expect by the end of this month.”