Culprits in Pumps Crisis Will Soon Be Found Out

Scene from pump station 6 in New Orleans on 10-23-07. Photo/AP Alex Brandon

A version of this post appeared in the New Orleans Advocate on Aug 26, 2017 page 4B.

Ever since the flash-flooding on Aug. 5 when a summer rain drenched homes and businesses in New Orleans, I’ve received phone calls every day from distressed callers.

“Should I sell my properties and move away?” they asked. I assured them that the localized drainage crisis is much different from the region-wide levee failure crisis of 12 years ago after Hurricane Katrina.

Analyzing the failure of the federal Army Corps of Engineers’ levees took several years and more than a dozen studies to figure out what went wrong and why. But, analyzing the failure of the local Sewerage & Water Board’s pumping and drainage should take weeks, months at most.

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Can New Orleans handle Hurricane Harvey’s rain?

H.J. Bosworth Jr is LIVE on WVUE TV Fox8 speaking with John Snell on Friday morning August 25 at 7:00 a.m. Bosworth addresses the growing concern that the S&WB’s pumping capacity may not be enough when New Orleans is drenched with rain from a potential Hurricane Harvey.

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With residency a requirement, S&WB work was going to non-locals?

The global firm Black and Veatch has audited the New Orleans Sewerage & Water Board for at least the past dozen years.

In both the 2014 and 2015 report on S&WB Operations, the auditor notes in nearly identical wording:

“…To compensate for the limited workforce, more work is being contracted out to subcontractors that was usually done in‐house prior to Hurricane Katrina….”

Surprisingly, on page 22 of the most recent report (2015), the auditor notes that “Many of these contractors are not local.”

This is nonsensical when, as reported by The Advocate, residency requirements is cited by Mayor Mitch Landrieu as part of the reason there are 60 vacancies at the S&WB.

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