Civil engineer: Old pumps OK, but maintenance needs modernization

Civil engineer: Old pumps OK, but maintenance needs modernization

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - As a potential worst-case scenario is avoided after speedy repairs to a power turbine, one civil engineer thinks the fix just isn't enough - especially after the Sewerage and Water Board got down to its last backup plan.

"The Saints have a back-up, they have a second string, a third string. Entergy, they supply power to us, they have 100% standby power. The generator power if our lights go out, they have 100% back-up. Why the Sewerage and Water Board doesn't have 100% back-up for something this critical is absurd," said H.J. Bosworth, a civil engineer with

While he thinks there should be more back-ups in place for the life-saving pump system, he says the pumps, despite their age, are likely the best New Orleans can get.

"Dependability is there in ways that a modern pump station may never have. I doubt that any of the motors they have put on the new pump stations in the past 20 years will ever last 70 years, whereas these are 70, 80, 90 years old and working just fine if you maintain them," Bosworth said.

That's the key, though: They have to be maintained, and Bosworth thinks that's where updates can be made.

"Jefferson Parish has a screen in a room. You walk into the room and there's a screen on the status of the pumps. In the pump stations you can find out what's going on. The Sewerage and Water Board puts the stuff down on paper by hand," Bosworth said.

Bosworth said the pumps can be decades old, but the system to maintain and monitor them should be modernized, and that system should also get a watchdog to make sure the public is aware of what's happening with the system year-round.

"As citizens here, we need to know what in the world they are doing, and if they're not doing the right thing, we want answers. Just like the Saints on the field, if they're not doing the right thing, we can see it. We need the same sort of transparency," Bosworth said.

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