NEW ORLEANS — The Sewerage and Water Board says it plans to inspect more than 275 miles of canals that it is responsible for maintaining over the next five years.

Ghassan Korban, the executive director of the S&WB, announced the plan, saying that it would provide a complete condition survey of the parts of the drainage system that falls under the board.

“This is a massive undertaking and a critical step in working to learn everything we don’t know about our infrastructure,” he said. There are no records of an inspection of this magnitude ever happening before.”

Inspections of one of the city's underground drainage canals this past year showed 370 tons of debris, including an entire automobile in the canal. 

The S&WB said it is responsible for all closed and open canals that are 36 inches in diameter and greater in size. With approximately 210 miles of closed canals and 65 miles of open canals, the inspection plan will access all SWBNO drain lines every five years.

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The inspections will be divided into five geographical areas, starting with the oldest drainage structures. Residents can expect to see minimal impacts to traffic patterns with temporary one lane closures or one lane shifts for traffic control during drainage system access. This inspection work will have no impact on customers’ water service.

Here is the plan, as laid out by the S&WB

Years One and Two (currently underway): Uptown, Broadmoor, Central City, Carrollton, Riverbend

  • Basin draining to Drainage Pump Stations No. 1 (S. Broad St.) and No. 6 (17th Street-Orpheum Ave.)
    • Includes 50 miles of closed canals and 8 miles of open canals (including the 17th Street Outfall Canal)

Years Two and Three: CBD, French Quarter, Treme, 7th Ward, Gentilly, Desire

  • Basin draining to Drainage Pump Stations No. 2 (N. Broad St.), No.3 (London Ave. at N. Broad), No.4 (London Ave.at Warrington) and No. 19 (W. Industrial Canal)
    • Includes 56 miles of closed canals and 9 miles of open canals (including the London and Industrial Outfall Canals)

Year Four: City Park, Mid-City, Lakeview

  • Basin draining to Drainage Pump Stations No. 7 (Orleans Ave.) and No. 12 (Ponchartrain Blvd.)
    • Includes 23 miles of closed conduit and 2 miles of open canals

Years Four and Five: New Orleans East

  • Basin draining to Drainage Pump Stations No. 10 (Citrus on Hayne Blvd.), No. 14 (Jahncke on Hayne Blvd.), No.16 (Wales St.) and No. 18 (Maxent on Alcee Fortier Blvd.)
    • Includes 40 miles of closed canals and 42 miles of open canals

Year Five (Combined drainage basins): Lower 9th Ward and West Bank 

Phase 1

  • Basin draining to Drainage Pump Station No. 5 (Florida Ave.)
    • Includes 7 miles of closed canals, zero miles of open canals

Phase 2

  • Basin draining to Drainage Pump Station No. 13 (West Bank)
    • Includes 34 miles of closed canals and 4 miles of open canals.