NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - In an emergency meeting Thursday morning, the Sewerage and Water Board admitted that additional pumps weren't working on Saturday, August 5th when several of the city's neighborhoods were flooded. Board members say there was a total of 14 pumps that were inoperable, two more than what they city reported on Monday. Mayor Landrieu reported that he is calling for a third-party independent investigation of what went wrong. He also says he is forming an interim management team to head up the S&WB. The shake-up began Monday when Executive Director Cedric Grant announced his retirement. At today's meeting, the board was to take up a recommendation by the mayor, calling for the firing of Superintendent Joseph Becker and Communications head Lisa Martin. The board ended up not having to take up the issue after it was notified that both are leaving the department. Becker informed board members of his plans to retire, effective September 30, 2017, and Lisa Martin plans to resign, effective September 1st.
The board also discussed the massive power outage that occurred overnight, when the last of two working turbines caught fire. That has left the city with only one working turbine to run the city's pumps and provide drainage. There were six turbines operational during hurricane Katrina, Since then, all of two were broken before the fire that whittled that number down to one. The turbines are the main power source for many of the city's pumps west of the Industrial Canal.
Out of an abundance of caution, the city of New Orleans is urging residents to stay vigilant.
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