Neighbors frustrated with water leaks in front of homes and businesses

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - There's more frustration with the Sewerage and Water Board. Neighbors have had enough with leaks that they say they've been complaining about for over a year.

On a busy stretch of North Carrollton Avenue in Mid-City, you'll find water bubbling from a manhole cover right in front of businesses and homes.

"It looks like a spring.We have a few of these springs around here," said neighbor Ian Coburn. "Having lived in third world countries, what I thought were third world countries, this goes above or beyond what you would see in a third world country because you have everything here, and nothing is done about it."

Coburn lives nearby and says he's been complaining to the Sewerage and Water Board about the leak and others in the neighborhood like the one we found on Bienville Street for over a year.

"I pretty much once a month come by here, at least once a month I come to this very spot, take pictures and video, and still nothing happens," said Coburn. "What they do is they get your telephone number and you tell them where it is, so identify exactly where the spot is, and you tell them about the other spots around Mid-City, and pretty much nothing would happen at all."

And, as a real estate broker, he says it's also not good for business.

"One of the biggest problems you have trying to sell multi-family properties, really any property in New Orleans, is when they look at the overall water bill of some of these multi-families, it will be sky high some months. And a possible investor looks at that and they say, what's that about? How you do you control that?" said Coburn. "So, when they pass on this street, or they pass up Bienville or Banks Street or wherever else and they see that, they say I'm out of here and they go on to the next state."

It's also frustrating for Megan Bourgeois, who deals with the water every time she leaves or comes home.

"It's just a mess for everyone on this whole block. It goes down this whole block. It's just a pain in the butt because there's at least 10 people just right here who live here and work here and it's just hard to get around every day," said Bourgeois.

We reached out to the Sewerage and Water Board. In a statement, Director of Communications Richard Rainey said:

"New Orleans' water distribution system is decades old and in need of constant repairs. The leaks at 141 North Carrollton Ave. and 4440 Bienville St. are visible examples of the work that needs to be done. The S&WB's crews and contractors work around the clock and throughout the city to keep New Orleans drinking water safe and in supply. Last week alone, more than 600 repairs were made to our water and sewer systems, including those at hydrants, water meters and water mains. Plans are underway to address these two leaks with a sharp focus on minimizing the repair work's impact on the many businesses and homes in those busy areas." 

As for Coburn, he wants the problem fixed, but he also wants to know how the Sewerage and Water Board plans to fix all of the leaks in the city.

"I want to see the schedule. A schedule is a beginning and an end just like in a classroom. A child comes at the beginning and the end of the class, I want to see the children of Sewerage and Water Board show up with a plan that shows it's going to start here and it's going to end there, and I want to see the budget, how much money they are spending on this," said Coburn.

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