NEW ORLEANS, LA – Today, the Sewerage and Water Board (S&WB) in consultation with the state Department of Health and Hospital (DHH) officials issued a precautionary boil water advisory for residents and businesses in a limited area of Uptown New Orleans. Until further notice customers in the following area should follow precautionary measures: South Carrollton Avenue from Maple Street to the river; Maple Street to Loyola Street; Loyola Street to Jackson Avenue and Jackson Avenue to the river.
At approximately 6:00 a.m. today, the S&WB reported a significant increase in the demand for water at their power plant on South Carrollton. At the same time, the S&WB received several calls related to low water pressure in the Uptown area. S&WB inspectors traced the issue and dispatched to the 7800 block of Cohn Street in the Carrollton neighborhood where they discovered a 30-inch break in a water main.
S&WB crews immediately began the repair process, which included closing water valves to isolate the broken line, assessing water pressure in outlying areas and cleaning catch basins to ensure water drained properly. By 8:00 a.m., S&WB crews began to see a rise in water pressure from closure of valves.
S&WB crews have worked throughout the day to fix the problem. As a result, the leak has been contained and water pressure has been restored throughout the impacted area.
To fully repair the water main, the S&WB will cut out the damaged section of pipe and replace the section with new pipe. Repairs are expected to be completed by tomorrow evening.
Crews will continue work during daylight hours. Because water pressure has been restored and the leak contained, the job site will be securely closed tonight to minimize overnight noise impacts in the surrounding neighborhood. This will have no impact on the precautionary boil water advisory. Work will resume in the morning.
The precautionary boil water advisory for portions of Uptown New Orleans was issued in consultation with DHH after the S&WB received water pressure monitor readings from 30 NOFD stations across the city. None of these readings showed water pressure had dropped below 15 pounds per square inch (psi), which is the threshold established by public health officials for issuing a boil water advisory.
“When making these decisions, we work with the State to balance the serious inconvenience a boil water advisory will cause for our residents and businesses with the potential threat to public health,” said Marcia St. Martin, Sewerage & Water Board Executive Director. “No data showed a drop in water pressure below 15 psi, which is the standard threshold. However, some readings taken more than an hour after the initial main break were very close, as low as 16 psi. Because we could not say with absolute certainty that at some point the pressure had not dropped below the standard threshold, we took our cue from the State and took a very conservative approach. Public health is the top priority.”
Today, ten samples were collected for testing, which require a 24 hour incubation period. Based on these results, DHH and S&WB officials will make a determination about lifting the advisory tomorrow afternoon.
S&WB Claims Department staff were at the job site today meeting with claimants reporting damage to their personal property as a result of the water main break. Citizens with property damage may contact the Claims Department for additional information at 504-585-2422.
Residents in the affected area are advised not to drink, make ice from, brush teeth, bathe or shower, prepare or rinse food with tap water unless it has been properly disinfected until further notice. Boil water for one full minute in a clean container. The one-minute boil time begins after the water has been brought to a rolling boil. (If there is a flat taste, it can be eliminated by shaking the water in a bottle or pouring it from one container to another.) Customers in other areas of the city are not affected and do not need to boil their water.
Click here for map for the affected area.