On August 20, the Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans (SWBNO) discovered one potential cause of flooding during the July 10 rain event.
Using an amphibious vehicle equipped with an underwater camera to inspect the underground canal at the intersection of the Lafitte Greenway and Jefferson Davis Parkway, the SWBNO discovered an overturned car among other debris partially blocking the drainage canal. While the flow of water was not completely impeded, the utility does believe that this, in part, contributed to the overtopping at this location, and led to street flooding in many areas of the city.
As a result of this find, SWBNO will continue inspecting the underground portion of the Lafitte Canal for three miles to the Drainage Pump Station 7 in City Park. This inspection is estimated to cost around $100k, but SWBNO says that the inspection will remain a priority “as funding allows.”
“This is a direct reflection of this team’s commitment to a new way of doing things,” SWBNO Executive Director Ghassan Korban said.
“We saw an issue on July 20 and wasted no time in working to find the root of the problem and develop a solution. While we are committed to finding out what we don’t know, conducting these types of inspections is extremely costly. The only way we can move forward with improving our infrastructure is if we do it together. As I approach my one-year anniversary of serving the people of New Orleans, I am more committed than ever to tackling issues head on. The time is now.”
On Facebook, Mayor LaToya Cantrell issued a statement on the unusual find, saying, “We are owning our issues and taking a deeper dive – literally in this case. We are being intentional about looking at how blockages and issues in one part of the City impact all of us. I told you were looking at every piece of the system, and we are getting results. There is more to come.”
Jenn Bentley is a freelance journalist and editor currently serving as Editor-in-Chief of Big Easy Magazine. Her work has also been featured in publications such as Wander N.O. More, The High Tech Society, FansShare, Yahoo News, Examiner.com, and others. Follow her on Twitter: @JennBentley_