New Orleans fast tracks sewer line repair
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — New Orleans officials are fast-tracking work on a broken sewer line that briefly had them considering dumping sewage into the Mississippi River.
The New Orleans Sewerage & Water Board adopted an emergency declaration Wednesday to fix a valve on the line in the Gentilly neighborhood. The declaration will speed bidding and repairs on the valve, currently held open by a hydraulic jack and wooden wedges, the Times Picayune/New Orleans Advocate reported.
Crews discovered the problem Dec. 2 and tried for hours to get the broken valve open. As sewage backed up, the agency considered dumping it in the river to prevent it from spilling onto streets or causing an even more serious blowout. That turned out not to be necessary, Executive Director Ghassan Korban said.
Wednesday’s meeting came days after two explosions involving the city’s sewage and water systems.
On Saturday, a 61-year-old gas-fired turbine exploded at an agency power plant, injuring three workers. Officials had few new details Wednesday about the possible cause, and the board must now decide whether to fix the turbine, find a temporary power source or build a permanent, more modern one, the newspaperreported.
Early Monday, an explosion in the French Quarter threw manhole covers into the air and damaged cars parked over two of them, setting one car ablaze. Methane apparently had seeped from a sewer line and into an underground electric vault, where a spark set it on fire, Fire Chief Tim McConnell told news outlets.