Remember when New Orleans flooded last week? The Sewerage & Water Board said that the pumps were all working. The reason why New Orleans they said was because so much rain fell in so little time.
Well, it may be true that New Orleans’s pumps were overwhelmed. But it was not true that all the pumps were working.
The Sewerage & Water Board admitted that a lightning strike made some pumps shut down.
The New Orleans Sewerage & Water Board says lightning strikes at several stations caused pumps to go offline during the city’s latest bout of street flooding but likely had “no significant impact on drainage.”
Before the New Orleans City Council Public Works Committee Tuesday, S&WB leaders shared preliminary findings from its investigation into Wednesday’s flood event.
According to the presentation, four pumps were operating at Drainage Pumping Station No. 1 at South Broad Street and Martin Luther King Boulevard before a lightning strike caused two pumps to go offline. Those two pumps were being powered by electricity provided by Entergy. When a pump operator tried to turn on another pump, the S&WB says another lightning strike hit a feeder, knocking the third pump offline.
The utility added that the operator was able to turn on two additional pumps, plus two others that had lost power, and all possible pumps at station one were running by 9 a.m.
The preliminary investigation also found that voltage issues likely caused two of four pumps to go offline at Drainage Pumping Station No. 5 in the Lower 9th Ward. The issues remain under investigation and an electrician and additional pump operator have been stationed there until the issues are resolved.
The S&WB leadership said that other pumping stations also had pumps temporarily go offline “likely due to lightning strikes.”
The first question is has anyone at the S&WB ever heard of lightning rods? They’ve been around for at least two centuries and were invented by a pretty famous guy named Benjamin Franklin. Perhaps they should install some at pumping stations.
Secondly, why should we believe anything from the S&WB at this point? There are always excuses when there is a flood. Remember, Jefferson and St. Bernard Parishes did not flood in last week’s storm.
The S&WB remains an utterly incompetent bureaucracy that is incapable of protecting the lives and property of the people of New Orleans. This has to change before people can confidently live in the city.