NEW ORLEANS -- A former Sewerage and Water Board employee is giving us detailed information on the inner workings of the drainage system.
The former employee did not want to be identified, but says some of these turbines have not been working properly since Hurricane Katrina.
"A simple analogy is a car. A pump fails, it takes from two days to two weeks to repair it. That's like a flat tire on a car. All three main turbines down, that means your engine and transmission are gone," The former employee said. "A pump takes one to two weeks. Turbines take three to six months."
New Orleans Pump Crisis
The former employee worked at the Sewerage and Water Board for more than 30 years. He said he was not surprised when he heard about Saturday's flood.
"I knew weeks ago when number three burned up and number five went down that this was going to happen," he said.
Three of the five power generating turbines at the Sewerage and Water Board's South Claiborne Avenue plant were already offline when the fire broke out.
"Five and three went out earlier this year. Number four turbine has been torn down and inspected three times and no repairs have been made. Number four was running during Katrina, I was there. It hasn't run since Katrina. They just ran three and five to the ground," The former employee said. The one that caught fire was one of the last remaining working turbines. But even that turbine, this former employee says, was not the strongest.
Mitchell Sintes is a retired Jefferson Parish pump operator. He says Orleans Parish waited too long to address their problems.
"For that many to be out of service at a minutes notice, that doesn't seem right you know," Sintes said." Things can happen automatically, but I'm surprised they waited to do maintenance during Hurricane Season. That surprised me quite a bit, because Jefferson Parish would not let us do that. Those pumps had to be ready at a moments notice."
The former Sewerage and Water Board employee says what's happening now is less of a technical problem, and perhaps, more man-made.
"Mitch Landrieu put a man in that had a full-time job, Deputy Mayor! No engineering background! Yeah, it's frustrating. He put his cronie in there, so he can make money, that's all I can think of," The former employee said.
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