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S&WB has made progress, but many problems remain a year after WWL-TV investigation

'Down the Drain' investigation revealed major problems with the city's drainage system

A team of Eyewitness News investigators spent months and thousands of hours looking into the Sewerage & Water Board after two major floods during the summer of 2017.

What they found during their digging for “Down the Drain” was an agency in disarray.

A year after the reporters’ findings were broadcast and published on Nov. 15, 2017, there has been some progress -- but major problems also remain.


Then: 106 out of 120 operating

Now: 115 out of 120 operating

Background: Aging pumps crippled due to neglect, lack of maintenance, slow repairs. Most are back up due to expedited repairs.


Then: 2 out of 5 operating

Now: 5 out of 5 operating

Background: Aging power-generating machinery fell into disrepair. Tens of millions spent to bring back online.


Then: Director Cedric Grant (forced retirement), Supt. Joe Becker (fired)

Now: Director Ghassan Khorban, Interim Supt. Bruce Adams

Background: Heads rolled after top officials said the drainage system was working at capacity during flood-producing July 22 and Aug. 5 storms. Four interim directors – Paul Rainwater, Marcie Edwards, Jade Brown Russell and David Callahan – held the post until Khorban started Sept. 4.


Then: 250 days cash reserves for drainage

Now: Zero cash reserves for drainage

Background: $80 million spent on emergency repairs; 17,000 customers owe more than $22 million in overdue bills, now under threat of having their water shut off.

Click here to see the full "Down the Drain" reports.