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SWBNO Announces Inspection of Underground Canals
For Immediate Release
August 21, 2019

Finds debris, car in underground canal during initial inspections

NEW ORLEANS – Today, the Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans (SWBNO) announced plans for the inspection of underground canals. After the July 10 rain event, where the Lafitte Canal experienced minor overtopping, we immediately began plans to identify any unseen issues.

On August 20, 2019, we dispatched an amphibious vehicle equipped with an underwater camera at the intersection of Lafitte Greenway and Jefferson Davis Parkway. That camera found debris and an overturned car partially blocking the flow of water.

While July 10 was a major rain event that caused widespread flooding throughout New Orleans, we recognized that overtopping at this particular location was not normal.  We will continue to prioritize inspections of suspected problem areas, assess conditions and respond accordingly – as funding allows. The inspection of this underground portion of the Lafitte Canal will continue for the next three miles to Drainage Pump Station 7 in City Park – a process that, alone, will cost over $100K.

“This is a direct reflection of this team’s commitment to a new way of doing things,” said Ghassan Korban, Executive Director, Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans. “We saw an issue on July 10 and wasted no time in working to find the root of the problem and develop a solution.  While we are committed to finding out what we don’t know, conducting these types of inspections is extremely costly. The only way we can move forward with improving our infrastructure is if we do it together. As I approach my one-year anniversary of serving the people of New Orleans, I am more committed than ever to tackling issues head on. The time is now.”

While most canals receive water from catch basins and smaller pipes, the Lafitte Canal consists of both open and underground sections, rendering this canal more vulnerable to large obstructions entering the open canal and causing underground blockages.

We are aggressively exploring all options to remove the car as soon as possible while also working to find funds to begin conducting an in-depth analysis of underground SELA canals Uptown. As further exploration continues, we will tackle any obstructions or damage as swiftly as possible with the money and resources available.

Understanding the full condition and capabilities of the drainage system continues to be a top priority of our new administration. That knowledge will be a cornerstone to launching a citywide assessment of all SWBNO infrastructure – water, sewer and drainage – that will culminate in a prudent and executable master plan.

See image attached from Aug. 20 canal inspection. 

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