NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) — Last week, leaders in Jefferson and Orleans parishes announced plans to build freshwater pipelines. On Tuesday, Oct. 3, each parish gave residents an update on those plans.

“We are working together,” said Deputy General Superintendent of the Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans Steve Nelson. “We have enough capacity in our individual systems to serve our individual groups of customers, but we do have discussions ongoing and the ability to augment one another. If something goes down with our pumps, we will be going right by Jefferson Parish’s front door.”

The Jefferson Parish pipeline on the West Bank is expected to run about 15 miles upriver. However, on the East Bank, it will be about 10 miles, ending in the Kenner area.  

Jefferson Parish President Cynthia Lee Sheng said there’s an elevation change in Kenner, and that’s where they feel comfortable pulling the water in.

“We hired an emergency contractor and we met with them,” said Sheng. “By Monday, they already had equipment into the parish. The contractor is ready to go, we are just waiting for the corps approval.”

Nelson said the Orleans Parish pipeline will be larger in diameter, possibly up to four feet, due to how much more water Orleans Parish pushes out. For that reason, the two parishes can’t partner together on the construction, but they are working hand in hand.

“We’ve been working lock in step to augment but like I said, one system is not dependent on the other,” Nelson said.

Officials from Orleans and Jefferson parishes said they expect to be reimbursed by the federal government because the pipelines will be costly to build and operate.

“We have an estimate on our East Bank facility of 150 to 250 million and our West Bank intakes will be 10 to 20 [million],” said Nelson.

“My team tells me 12.5 to 15 million a month,” Sheng said.

Construction is expected in the coming days.

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