Emergency catch basin cleaning deadline approaches

The goal is to clean 15,000 in 120 days.


NEW ORLEANS – The City of New Orleans deadline to have 15,000 catch basins cleaned in 120 days is up at the end of this month.  This Wednesday morning Eyewitness New checked in to see the progress.

At St. Charles and Poydras is where one crew began their work.  But, just in the last few days, over 70,000 pounds of Mardi Gras beads have been picked up out of the catch basins that line St. Charles between Lee Circle and Poydras.

The city is over 80 percent finished with its emergency cleaning work.

"We've had up to 23 trucks per day," Dani Galloway said.

Galloway is Interim Director for the Department of Public Works. 

"We've worked 7 days a week, sun up to sun down."

She explained, despite some initial setbacks with contractors, the city is on track to meet its goal.  But what does having 15,000 basins cleaned do for flood protection?

"It means, you know, basically that 30 percent of the catch basins have been cleaned." 

That's more in one year than in previous years.  And cleaner basins means it could help prevent flooding.

Eyewitness News then went back to a trouble spot near Rocheblave and General Taylor.  A homeowner there last September, told us he had been reporting the backup issue for years.  Wednesday he said the city actually came out about two weeks ago to clean it, but it still barely drains.

"The water stays there for a certain length of time when it does rain hard, I can't get in and out of my house," Willie Jefferson said.

Jefferson told Eyewitness News the cleaning is an improvement over how slowly it had drained before, but he thinks the issue is a broken pipe under the street.

"We might have about 2-3 feet of water here."

Jefferson, for now, has to keep waiting for more answers.  Meanwhile, Galloway estimated, over 1,800 basins have been repaired since last October.  And she said, this year, there's a new maintenance plan.  

"Our goal is to get 8,000 cleaned per year, which is almost double from what we have been doing."

But she added, in order for basins to stay clear, the public has to help keep them from getting clogged, and for broken ones to be reported.

"We really need the help of New Orleanians," Galloway said.

Galloway also noted that another check of catch basins will be done for Mardi Gras debris following the parade season. 

© 2018 WWL-TV


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