NEW ORLEANS – October 1, 2015 – (RealEstateRama) — Mayor Mitch Landrieu was joined by representatives of the Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans to announce steps being taken to prevent future boil water advisory events.
“As everyone is aware, New Orleans has had far too many boil water events over the past few years,” Mayor Landrieu said. “These events are unacceptable and create a burden on our families, businesses, residents and visitors. Since taking office, I have been committed to fixing Sewerage and Water Board’s aging infrastructure so that we have safe and reliable water, sewer and drainage. In recent years, we have taken major steps to improve this critical public utility’s finances and governance. Major infrastructure improvement projects are underway now that will make our systems stronger and more resilient in the long-term. And we are continuing to negotiate with FEMA on longstanding Hurricane Katrina-related damage. But more work must be done.”
Mayor Landrieu added, “Since last week’s event, teams from the S&WB and outside experts have been meeting around the clock to determine what steps can be put in place in the short-term to prevent this from happening again. We are expediting any and all long-term repairs that can be done on an emergency basis. And we are working with third party; independent, local and national power experts on implementing immediate measures to minimize our risk for future boil water advisories.”
Sewerage and Water Board is currently implementing a $3.3 billion capital improvement program comprised of over 600 projects across New Orleans. This work is being paired with the $1.7 billion SELA projects and the City’s $1 billion recovery program, including the $280 million FEMA-funded Recovery Roads Program. Combined, this is one of the largest infrastructure improvement efforts in the history of New Orleans.
S&WB is currently expediting all long-term repairs that can be done on an emergency basis.
Since last week, S&WB has completed repairs to two 25-cycle pumps. These repairs will allow S&WB to be less dependent on commercially provided 60-cycle power. S&WB is currently procuring additional capabilities to withstand fluctuations in power and as it bring up additional capital projects.
S&WB has begun shifting more of its power load to its own 25-cycle self-generated power.
S&WB has purchased ten power quality meters to monitor commercial power received from Entergy.
S&WB is working with third party, independent, local and national power experts to work with all parties on making improvements to the system. One local firm, Nelson Engineering, is designing a short-term solution that ties S&WB pumping stations together with valves and piping to share water pressure. This will act like water towers on a temporary basis and provide additional capabilities to maintain water pressure.
S&WB estimates that these interim solutions will cost about $3 million and can be completed in the next six to nine months.
Long-Term Capital Improvements
Over $150 million in Hazard Mitigation Grant Program funds are being used to upgrade S&WB Carrollton Power Plant’s power generation to make it more resilient. Projects include replacement of critical feeders, refurbishment of the boiler room and turbines, construction of a generator test load bank and improvements at the Oak Street intakes. All S&WB pump stations are now equipped with multiple sources of power. S&WB is working to ensure its self-generated power that it has relied on for over 100 years can continue to serve as a primary source of power. All of these capital improvements will be done between now and 2019.
In 2016, S&WB will begin construction on an additional $50 million Water Hammer Hazard Mitigation Project. This includes two elevated water towers that will be constructed with a combined capacity of 4 million gallons. In the event of a complete loss of electrical power, these water towers will surge water down into the system to prevent loss of pressure in the system. Construction will begin upon completion of the SELA project along South Claiborne Avenue in front of S&WB Carrollton Power Plant and will be completed early 2018.
In addition to other projects already completed, nearly $300 million in federal funds have been committed to upgrade the S&WB Carrollton Power Plant.