S&WB: Power outage, operator error contributed to boil water advisory

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NEW ORLEANS – The combination of a power outage and operator error contributed to the latest boil water advisory, according to the Sewerage and Water Board.

City officials released a timeline of events this morning that begins in the early morning hours of November 17.

As of 4:17 a.m., all systems were operational at the Carrollton Water Plant.

The problems began one minute later at 4:18 a.m., when a compromised Entergy pole near the plant resulted in a power outage.

Before the outage, two 60Hz pumps, a 25Hz pump, and a steam pump were all operational, and another pump was on standby.

By 4:24 a.m., the standby pump was brought online, and the system was stabilized.

However, the main 60 cycle breaker at the Carrollton Station tripped at 6:19 a.m., knocking all pumps offline.

The newly installed Carrollton Water Tower stabilized the system for about 20 minutes, which is the capacity of the tower, according to S&WB officials.

Racing against the clock to stabilize the water pressure before the water tower was depleted, pump operators struggled to get another pump online.

By 6:42 a.m., the water tower had been depleted, and operator error prevented the activation of another pump, according to the S&WB.

Water pressure dropped throughout the system, with the lowest recorded pressure dipping as low as 7 psi.

By 6:50 a.m., pressure throughout the system had been restored to 20 psi.

A second water tower, which will work in tandem with the existing tower, will be brought online in 2019, and will give pump operators more time to fix problems before water pressure drops throughout the system, according to the S&WB.


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