Drainage construction Uptown blamed for water bill spikes

Drainage construction Uptown blamed for water bill spikes

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - New Orleans residents living Uptown insist SELA Drainage Project construction is ruining their pipes and jacking up their water usage.

Edwa Stewart said the cracks and separating walls are caused by constant vibration and construction near her Jefferson Avenue home, and it creates a host of problems.

"It's so bad that the rips and tears with the cracks I'm having rodents come in," Stewart said.

Animals sneaking inside her home is not the only problem she dealt with recently.

She said water being pumped through the sewage system near her home ruined her pipes costing her $1,800. Stewart said it really started to pile on when her water bill that used to stay around $50 spiked near $100 for several months.

"This is the latest indignity that homeowners are forced to endure resulting from the construction in the Uptown neighborhood," attorney Michael Whittaker said.

Whittaker represents hundreds of homeowners suing New Orleans Sewerage and Water Board for damage to their property.

The attorney said two dozen of his clients are now complaining about this latest issue.

"Now, they are receiving unexplained spikes in their water bills with no increase in water usage. In one case, a homeowner received a water bill of $5000," he said.

Sewerage and Water Board Officials were not available for an on-camera interview but said they have resolved several billing issues for people who live next to the construction site.

Spokesperson Lisa Martin said one problem people run into is that they call 311 instead of 52-WATER to report issues.

She also said the agency is working to correct problems by spending $2.4 billion over the next eight years to improve infrastructure in the city.

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