S&WB: New turbine shut down at Carrollton plant, steam pumps didn’t turn on

NEW ORLEANS – A new turbine at the Sewerage and Water Board’s Carrollton plant shut down this morning, leading to a boil water advisory.

Residents on the East Bank of Orleans Parish, including New Orleans East and the Lower Ninth Ward, are advised not to use tap water to drink, make ice, or brush their teeth until further notice, according to city officials.

Any residents who have a compromised immune system are advised not to use tap water to wash their hands or bathe.

Turbine 6, which was recently installed after a series of flooding incidents across the city occurred after a fire in turbine 4 cut off power to a number of drainage pumps, failed unexpectedly, according to Paul Rainwater, a member of the Interim Emergency Management Team for the S&WB.

Rainwater said at a morning news conference that it is not immediately clear what caused turbine 6 to shut down, or why a pair of steam pumps that are supposed to kick in if a turbine fails to keep the system’s water pressure above 15 psi didn’t activate.

Every time the system’s water pressure dips below 15 psi, a precautionary boil water advisory is automatically issued.

Rainwater said he will know why turbine 6 failed by the end of the day today.

Looking forward, he pointed to a permanent fix that is currently under construction at the Carrollton plant that should prevent boil water advisories in the future.

The Sewerage and Water Board is using $50 million in FEMA funding for a water hammer hazard mitigation project, Rainwater said, in the form of two 200 foot water towers that are currently under construction.

“In the event of a power loss like we experienced this morning, these towers will provide uninterrupted water pressure and continuous water service to the city,” he said. “Once complete, the infrastructure investment will make the city’s water supply in this facility more resilient, and help mitigate any other future boil water advisories.”

The first tower should be complete in late 2018, Rainwater said.