NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - The City of New Orleans says a broken turbine that powers the flood pumps for a large section of the city has been repaired. Officials released pictures of a section of turbine 1 where a small electrical fire occurred Wednesday night.
But Sewerage and Water Board documents provide startling insight into the crisis. Newly obtained pump logs from the Sewerage and Water Board show that even though that turbine is now repaired, many of the system's problems still exist, according to engineer Matt McBride.
"These problems, since they occurred before the turbine 1 fire on August 9th, would still be existing today, even with repair to turbine 1," McBride said. "And we know that because the logs from July 22nd reflect many of the same problems, with underground feeders failing, especially in Pumping Station 3. It was so severe there that station completely shut down and was not pumping water at all."
Mcbride publishes his research on FixThePumps.blogspot. He said the logs show that more pumps may have failed or shut down than was reported, although he's still analyzing the data.
He said what's shocking is what happened at Pumping Station 12, where an alarm went off at 3:45 p.m. Saturday to make the Sewerage and Water Board aware that the pumps needed to be turned on.
"Station 12 - which services west Lakeview, north, or Harrison and Veterans - that pump was not turned on until approximately 8:50 p.m. - six to seven hours after the rainfall began," McBride said. "It was not even manned until 7:50 p.m., and in the intervening hour, after the operator arrived and asked to have the pump turned on, he was refused."
The Sewerage and Water Board has said those refusals were because there wasn't enough power to go around.
The city has ordered 26 emergency generators. Eighteen have arrived, and eight more will reportedly arrive Saturday (Aug. 12). The city said that should help get us through hurricane season - and any more strong summer storms.