City Council and S&WB to meet to discuss flooding and pump issues

Updated: Jun. 11, 2020 at 6:47 AM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - As flood victims dry out their cars and businesses, some wonder what it will take to fix the city’s drainage.

A New Orleans City Council committee will meet Thursday to discuss Wednesday’s flooding and pump issues.

Sewerage and Water Board officials say a main turbine overloaded and shutdown several pumps.

Thursday’s Public Works, Sanitation and Environment committee meeting was already scheduled before the heavy rains cause flooding throughout the city. But the focus of the meeting will now shift to the S&WB.

Some of the topics up for discussion will be hurricane preparedness, the current state of the pumps and any manpower issues.

The Downtown New Orleans area saw flooding that seeped into some hotels.

S&WB says the Gentilly and Mid-City areas saw more than three inches of rain from the storms Wednesday morning. The National Weather Service says at one point half an inch of rain fell in the city in just five minutes.

The heavy rains resulted in many residents racing to move their vehicles to higher ground while others saw their cars flood.

RELATED: Heavy rain causes street flooding in Orleans and metro area

After some investigating, officials say turbine four was overloaded and tripped off during the storm. That caused a number of pumps to stop working and with turbine five still down after exploding in December, S&WB Executive Director Gasshan Korban says the city’s drainage system is in a very precarious state this hurricane season.

RELATED: S&WB says turbine went down during heavy rains

“We were dealing with a tropical storm a few days ago that caused less issues than this unforecasted no name event,” says Korban. “I’ve been saying for a long time we have a very fragile power generation system. It’s very old and having lost T5 back in December further exasperated our redundancy and ability to manage storms like we should.”

He says crews worked to reconfigure the power supply and eventually got turbine four back up and running about two hours after the storm. But he says even with the failure, the amount of rain we saw was still more than the pumping system can handle.

The City Council committee meeting will be held virtually at 10 a.m.

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