Work on a major water main starting Monday night (Oct. 26) may result in a drop in pressure for Uptown, the Warehouse District and down to the French Quarter. But even if the pressure falls, the Sewerage and Water Board says the water supply for those areas shouldn’t be at risk for any contamination that would require a boil water order.
Rainstorms delayed work that would have started Sunday night on a 50-inch water main. Instead, the maintenance project will start at 10 p.m. Monday and is expected to end by 11 a.m. Tuesday.
S&WB spokesman Robert Jackson said if water pressure falls during the work, which he stressed is not likely, “immediate” action would be taken to correct it. Although there are leaks throughout the city’s water system, they do not jeopardize the overall supply when pressure drops during maintenance work, he said.
New Orleans’ water supply has been at risk most recently when power outages or mechanical failure at its treatment plants have affected the pumps that provide pressure for the entire system. There have been 10 such instances in the past five years, as well as four major water main breaks.
On nine of these occasions, the Sewerage and Water Board has issued boil water advisories out of what officials have called “an abundance of caution,” ranging in duration from 24 to 53 hours. The required testing of the water supply when the system pressure falls below safe levels has not revealed any contamination from the outages or water main breaks.
In addition to continuing maintenance of the water delivery system, the Sewerage and Water Board is working on short-term and permanent fixes for its Carrollton water treatment plant that city officials say will reduce the likelihood of pressure failures.