Press Releases

SWBNO assessing drainage response to heavy rains Sunday, May 12

For Immediate Release: Sunday, May 12 2019

New Orleans sustained heavy rains early Sunday morning, May 12, causing street flooding.

Between approximately 5:15 a.m. and 6:15 a.m., more than 2 inches of rain fell in less than an hour across much of the city, outpacing the capability of the drainage system. The highest recorded rainfall rate was 3.1 inches in that hour at Drainage Pumping Station (DPS) 5 in the Lower 9th Ward.

As much as 5 inches fell in parts of the city between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. The Sewerage and Water Board (SWBNO) will continue to assess the magnitude of this storm and the drainage system’s response.

SWBNO self-generated more than 42 megawatts (MW) of electricity to operate the city’s drainage pumps. The utility has the capability of producing more than 72 MW if necessary. The drainage system had 115 out of 120 pumps available for use throughout the storm. It is important to note that not all drainage pumps can operate simultaneously because such an effort would overflow downstream canals. Drainage stations have redundant pumps in case in-service equipment experiences any issues during rain events. 

One drainage pump temporarily lost Entergy-supplied power at DPS 7 near City Park around 5 a.m. The SWBNO team responded by starting up a standby generator on site. By 6 a.m., that pump returned to service.

Again, SWBNO will continue to gather information and look for all opportunities to continue improving its response to rain events. 

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