The Sewerage & Water Board of New Orleans has issued a precautionary boil water advisory for the Lower 9th Ward. Residents are advised not to drink, make ice, or brush teeth with tap water until further notice.
Lower 9th Ward residents whose have compromised immune systems also should not wash hands, shower or bathe.
“Water pressure dropped after a momentary loss of power to a water distribution pump at the Carrollton Water Plant shortly before 2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 22. Water pressure quickly stabilized, but not before causing pressure at a gauge in the Lower 9th Ward to register below 20 pounds per square inch (psi).
“Customers in other areas of the city are not affected and do not need to boil their water.”
Even those without compromised immune systems are urged to apply hand sanitizer after using the affected tap water to wash hands, and ideally they should use bottled water or water that’s been boiled.
Residents who choose to shower or bathe should be careful not to swallow any water, and use extra care when bathing infants and young children so that no water is swallowed.
S&WB says it will notify residents when the advisory is lifted.
“If you have any questions, please call 52-WATER (529-2837),” the press release says.
A total eight water-distribution pumps are located at the Sewerage & Water Board’s Carrollton plant on South Claiborne Avenue near the parish line, according to the utility’s 2015 operations report. Two pumps run on steam generated from boilers, while the other six pumps are fueled by electricity. The steam and electricity arrive from a variety of power turbines at the Carrollton plant, most of which have undergone millions of dollars-worth in emergency repairs over the past year.
NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune has reached out to the Sewerage & Water Board for more details on what led to the power loss.
The impacts of brief water pressure drops are poised to be reduced in the future by two new water towers that have been under construction over the past few years. According to the city, the towers are designed to send water stored in tanks down through the distribution system’s underground pipes during a pressure drop, to help lessen the severe damage that can happen to the water system’s infrastructure amid dramatic pressure changes.
Aside from protecting pipes, the towers should give the Sewerage & Water Board “roughly 30-40 minutes of continuous water pressure in the event of a power failure,” Chris Bergeron, the water hammer project’s program manager, said in a news release on the city’s website. The resulting pressure stabilization should reduce the chances pressure falls low enough to trigger a boil advisory.
One of the towers was scheduled for completion sometime this summer, the city says. The second is on track for completion in March 2019.