On August 20, the Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans (SWBNO) discovered the underground canal at the intersection of the Lafitte Greenway and Jefferson Davis Parkway was clogged with debris, including an overturned car. While the flow of water was not completely impeded, the utility does believe that this, in part, contributed to overtopping at this location, and led to street flooding in many areas of the city in July.
Today, the SWBNO removed more than 370 tons of debris from a nearly three-mile stretch of that canal – including a second car. According to WWLTV, the city estimated that the debris would cover 22,000 cubic yards.
The inspection and cleaning of the canal gained urgency after heavy rains on Monday afternoon resulted, yet again, in flooding across the city during rush hour, flooding cars, businesses, and homes. The city is particularly concerned at the number of flooding incidents happening in areas of the city that usually drain well.
“We are seeing flood events that are jarring to folks in areas that are a little bit new,” Mayor Cantrell said. “So it’s a lot of investigation but it’s also doing at the same time which is what you saw at the canal.”
According to WWLTV’s report, the New Orleans Department of Public Works is working together with SWBNO and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to asses the entire system, including canals, underground pipes, catch basins, and the recently-opened SELA box culverts. Mayor Cantrell stated that this level of assessment had never been done before, especially including the SELA culverts.
“What is very clear, this level of analysis and assessment, they have not been done,” Mayor Cantrell stated. “It’s been a very long time, but I’m just proud that we have the team in place.”
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_