New Orleans, Louisiana, Faces Difficulty With Sewer System in Aftermath of Hurricane Ida

Sept. 1, 2021

According to city officials, the city's drainage system ultimately prevailed against the storm

The New Orleans Sewerage & Water Board was facing an extreme spike in water usage and difficulty powering its sewer system in Hurricane Ida’s aftermath.

According to city officials, its drainage system still prevailed against the storm, reported New Orleans Advocate (NOLA). 

Most of the flooding reported in the city had been pumped out by Aug. 30 morning and the S&WB reported no system-wide problems. Street flooding was reported in the city as Ida dropped 8 to 10 inches of rain in New Orleans, according to S&WB Executive Director Ghassan Korban at a press conference, reported NOLA..

Entergy transmission lines to the entire region failed, which left it entirely dependent on power it generates in-house to run the drainage system.

S&WB was able to bring a turbine back online Aug. 29 morning after repairs, however.

S&WB’s sewer system relies on Entergy power to pump the wastewater that comes from homes and businesses to be treated and disposed of. According to utility officials, by Aug. 30 morning 80 of the 84 lift stations used to do that work had gone down. 

As a result, residents are urged to avoid using dishwashers, washing machines and other appliances that push large amounts of water into the system until power is restored. In the meantime, the S&WB is using generators to relieve pressure on the sewer system while the power is out.

There are at least two areas where drains appeared not to be working. 

S&WB’s backup generators at Drainage Pump Station 13 on the West Bank failed as well, which left the whole region without electricity and led to flooding in the Tall Timbers area, according to Korban, reported NOLA.

According to Councilmember Kristin Gisleson Palmer, the S&WB had repaired the generator, pumps were once again working and water should begin draining soon.

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Cristina Tuser