NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - A St. Roch business owner is convinced a growing leak in his neighborhood could have a real impact on his bottom line. He asked the Sewerage and Water Board to fix it but they say it's not in the plans right now.
Nick Selby's import and wholesale business sits at the corner of Treasure and Eads.
“We are in business that employs 20 people so that’s 20 families that can be very negatively impacted if we can’t get this issue resolved,” said Selby, Partner and President of Uncorked.
Selby relies on large scale deliveries once a week. His drivers make runs from this location all day.
Over the past several years, the nearby SELA project on Florida Avenue has, at times, complicated conditions for his drivers.
“The roads are really rough but we take our time and do what we have to do,” said one of Selby’s drivers.
The streets, now packed with limestone and gravel, feed heavy machinery while his neighborhood acts as a staging area.
“All the drainage they removed that they are not working to replace. All people who live here, all of this floods,” Selby said.
Yet, Selby’s greatest concern lies two blocks from his business at Abundance and Eads.
"It looks like, to me, like it's going to become a sinkhole and once it becomes a sinkhole then this neighborhood will not be accessible," Selby fears.
The Sewerage and Water Board is at that corner of Eads.
We spoke to a representative who tells us they are aware of the leak but have chosen not to fix it yet. She says it could be related to the extremely intricate SELA project. If a repair were made, it could adversely impact the project. Plus, she says it’s not cost effective when further repairs may be needed later.
“I wouldn’t find it cost effective to have your streams of revenue leaking out into the street,” Selby contests. “It’s very disappointing to hear they don’t see the value in repairing their leaking pipe.”
Sewerage and Water Board’s rep says they understand residents and business owners’ concerns and asks for patience while they work with partners to complete SELA.
She says their experts examined this leak and found no potential danger to the area.
“We, as residents, business owners in the city of New Orleans should all be ashamed to hear that and should stand up and fight against them to at least provide what we as citizens deserve,” Selby said.
Selby says he understands the long-term benefits of the SELA project and knows a lot of the mess will be cleaned up once it’s over but, he also says that neighborhood should not be neglected until it is. He says it took a year and a half to fix the first leak he found in the neighborhood and he says another threatens to damage his driveway.