S&WB: More than a third of city’s water mains are over 100 years old

S&WB: More than a third of city’s water mains are over 100 years old

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) -More than a third of the New Orleans’ water mains are over 100 years old, according to the Sewerage and Water Board.

New Orleans City Councilman Joseph Giarrusso said this should not come as a shock to residents.

“You’ve also got to remember some of the infrastructure at the water plant dates back to World War I, too. It’s the pipes, the pumps, that are nearly that old in many of the cases. We’re just working with an infrastructure that’s going to be obsolete in fairly short order,” Giarrusso said.

Residents learned just how fragile the city’s infrastructure can be during May 3′s massive water main break on Claiborne Avenue near Tulane University. The problem -- a 114-year-old water line. The mess triggered a boil water advisory for a large part of Uptown for over 24 hours, and left neighbors and businesses once again frustrated and fed up.

The Sewerage and Water Board said a recent compromise between the Governor, Mayor and the hospitality industry will provide the utility with much needed funding. Under the new agreement, the board says it will use $50 million in one-time money to pay down the debt it incurred during emergency drainage repairs last year. Sewerage and Water Board officials said the utility will also use that money to jump start several top-priority capital projects.

“The new deal is an incredible shot in the arm for Sewerage and Water Board. To be able to pay off its existing debt is fantastic," Giarrusso said. "So, it can have its contractors working. But, the bigger piece of it is though, is the recurring revenue, however that may fall.”

The Sewerage and Water Board said part of that funding will go toward hardening Turbine Six. We’re told it was only installed in 2012 and is the city’s newest power generating turbine. The utility wants to fix it so it can operate in cold weather.

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