Boil water advisory creates headache for residents, restaurants

Boil water advisory creates headache for residents, restaurants

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - The Sewerage and Water Board is testing water samples to see if there’s a risk to residents after pressure dropped on the East Bank and a precautionary boil water advisory was issued Saturday morning (Nov. 17). The advisory was still in effect Saturday night, impacting both residents and businesses.

Katie’s owner Scot Craig has been in the restaurant industry for decades and he said break a sweat when the city issues boil water advisories.

“I call them curve balls,” Craig said. “It’s a city that has an old infrastructure and we just have to deal with these problems sometimes."

When you’re doing business in New Orleans, Craig said there are certain challenges you learn how to manage.

"We buy gallons of water that we use in the back. The dishwasher handles itself because it's hot water but we boil all of our water," explained Craig. "At least we're old pros at it now. We know what to do right away. It's not like, 'oh, we have to close.'"

If that were the case, Craig said boil water advisories would have a crippling effect on the city’s biggest industry.

"We're one of the international destinations for food," Craig said.

That’s not to say the advisories aren’t an issue. Not only are they expensive, Craig and his servers said they keep customers from coming in.

“When this happens, business will normally be a little slower than normal,” Murphy Noel, a Katie’s server said.

According to City council member Joe Giarrusso, there’s no reason for these hiccups with the improvements the Sewerage and Water Board made.

“My frustration is Sewerage and Water Board has been banging the drum for a long time that its power and its pumps are strong, they’ve been hardened, we’re at the best we’ve ever been, and we had a failure in that regard,” Giarrusso said.

Giarrusso said the power went down at the Claiborne station in charge of water distribution. While a new water tower proved effective, pressure dropped due to power and the pumps.

“You need the water pressure where it’s supposed to be but you also need the power to work simultaneously and if either of those don’t work, you run into problems,” Giarrusso said.

Now, Giarrusso is calling on the Sewerage and Water Board to answer the tough questions, like how it will prevent this from happening again.

“Not only are you affecting residents, but you’re affecting businesses too,” Giarrusso said. “So, I’m going to get on the phone with the Restaurant Association seeing how are you dealing with this, what is your plan going forward, how many people are affected?”

Meanwhile, restaurant owners aim for business as usual.

“We just have to deal with it,” Craig said.

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