Nov 24, 2010

FEMA Funds Berm Elevation Project for New Orleans Treatment Plant

Berm will be raised to protect plant during flooding

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced $21 million in additional funding for the elevation of the East Bank Wastewater Treatment Plant levee, commonly referred to as a berm, which protects the Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans (SWBNO) facility from flooding.

SWBNO will use the funds to elevate the height of its flood-protecting berm. The height of the berm, which currently does not exceed more than 8 ft, will be elevated to 18 ft. Raising the berm will provide protection of this critical facility during future flooding events and protect more than $41 million in possible future damages that could occur at the plant during another storm such as Hurricane Katrina.

“Elevating the berm at the East Bank Wastewater Treatment Plant is a cost-effective mitigation measure that will save tax dollars by preventing future flood waters from causing further damages,” said Acting Executive Director of FEMA’s Louisiana Recovery Office Joe Threat. “Additionally, it should give New Orleans residents the peace of mind that the vital functions at the plant should remain in operation during a future flood.”

Capable of treating 122 million gal of sewage per day, the East Bank Wastewater Treatment Plant is a critical asset for New Orleans’ sewer system. The facility was overtopped with 16 ft of floodwater during Hurricane Katrina, which took the entire treatment plant out of service for weeks, creating a public health and safety issue.

The berm elevation project at the East Bank Wastewater Treatment Plant is expected to be completed by September 2013.