Sewerage and Water Board touts repairs to damaged turbine

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - As severe weather approaches, the Sewerage and Water Board hopes having another turbine up and running will help. Workers recently finished repairs on turbine five, which has been out of service since July. Now, residents are optimistic but say they're waiting to see what happens.

"There is a person in a kayak going down our side street," said Lakeview resident Nicole Cosse.

She remembers walking outside after heavy rains, August 6 of last year, to find a river flowing through her Lakeview neighborhood. While her home was spared, she still saw damage.

"In Mid-City, I had water enter my elevator lobby into the elevator pit, got all the cables and a vehicle that was parked there was totaled, as well," said Cosse.

It came a month after a fire put turbine five out of service. Yet, residents soon learned, it wasn't the only one.

"When the flooding happened, we were under the impression the turbines were working in the first place," Cosse said.

"You had a lot of power loss but no one sound of the alarm or call the boss and said, 'hey, we need some temporary power in here.' Now, after the August 6 flood, they did purchase four of these diesel generators," Levees.org Civil Engineer H.J. Bosworth Jr. explained.

Now, after a number of tests, the Sewerage and Water aboard says it's ready.

In a statement, Interim Executive Director Marcie Edwards says, in part:

"While we want to caution conservative optimism about this, we appear to be in a much better place today than we were last summer."

The repairs to turbine five don't mean one part of the city will be spared more than another. Instead, the Board touts an overall boost in power for the drainage system.

"They generate an amount of power. Imagine a big extension cord, if you will. The plugs into the generator plant," said Bosworth.

There are still several turbines offline, but Sewerage and Water Board officials say number three is expected to be back up in April and four should be in service by the start of June.

Yet, even with a number of improvements in the bag and more to come, residents say, they'll believe it when they see it.

"I'll have more sense of security when we actually get a significant rain in the street stay dry," said Cosse.

Right now, 118 out 120 pumps are in operation.

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