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New Orleans power turbine down; Pumping station capacity diminished

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Mayor assures public that the city is working as fast as it can

Update [11:59 a.m.]

  • Mayor Mitch Landrieu announced that the city has acquired 14 two-megawatt generators to assist in powering the pumping stations.
  • Currently, 38 out of the 58 pumps are active in neighborhoods west of the Industrial Canal.
  • Landrieu. with the Sewerage & Water Board approval, opted to have a third party run the Board for the time being. An additional third party will survey the current state of the pumps and power stations. More on this soon.
  • OPSB and Charter schools will be closed today and Friday, August 11.

Update [9:45 a.m.]:

  • Sewerage & Water Board officials confirm that 16 pumps were inoperable during the August 5 storm. On Tuesday, the administrative branch reported 14 pumps out of service.

Early this Morning, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu announced that the Sewerage & Water Board has lost a turbine, which powers most of the cities pumping stations. Without the power of the turbine, the Board says its drain storm capacity has diminished for the East Bank of New Orleans.

At a 7 a.m. press conference, an official from the New Orleans Sewerage and Water Board says at current capacity, the pumping system can handle an inch of rain before standing water occurs.

All neighborhoods west of the Industrial Canal risk flooding, according to the Office of the Mayor. New Orleans East, Algiers, and the Lower 9th Ward operate on a separate power source and are not affected by the outage.

“Im sending out this message loudly and clearly out of the abundance of caution,” Landrieu says. “We will be able to handle a typical rainfall.”

Orleans Parish Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Henderson Lewis, Jr., announced that all schools under the parish will be closed August 10 to 11 out of precaution and urged charter schools to close. Here’s a list of all the schools that have closed due to flooding precautions.

At a 2 a.m. press conference, Landrieu says that the turbine issue will be resolved in the next 24 to 48 hours.

In the mean time, the City urges residents to move vehicles to higher ground and to take necessary precaution to protect personal property during the event of a flood.

The Mayor will hold a meeting with the Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans to learn more about the internal fire that disabled the turbine earlier today. The Office of the Mayor had no further details on the fire.

The affected power turbine, Turbine #1, provides power to most of the cities pumping stations that serve the East Bank of New Orleans. The Mayor said that this is the fourth turbine out of operation. The other three are under maintenance, he adds.

Landrieu says that City is currently securing backup generators to help service the city’s pumping stations. No other details on those acquisitions have been given.

The National Weather Service of New Orleans forecasts a .25 to .50 inches of rain will fall today. Rainfall is likely to occur in the afternoon.

Sewerage and Water Board officials reveled that 16 not 14 water pumps were inoperable during Saturday’s flood.

Sewerage & Water Board emergency meeting

“We believe we have enough power with normal rainfall to due what is necessary,” Landrieu says. “We are in the process…that we have a whole army of people working on the turbine as we speak. The news is better right now that it was late last night.”

Landrieu says that is is likely that the turbine #1 will be restored today.

Status of the city’s turbines

During the 9:30 a.m. meeting between board members the Sewerage and Water Board and Mayor Mitch Landrieu, Director Cedric Grant announced the status of the pump station’s power plant.

Out of the five turbines, only one, the backup, is operable. Turbine 1 became inoperable Wednesday night after a fire occurred.

Turbine 4 has been inoperable since January of 2017. It’s slated to be repaired by the en of this year. Turbine 3 has been inoperable since this past May. Turbine 5 lost power after a torrential downpour in July 22.

Several power outages occurred during the August 5 storm.