Press Releases

Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans to Conduct Complex Water Main Repair on Marconi Drive

For Immediate Release: Thursday, July 30 2020

Today, Thursday, July 30, the Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans (SWBNO) is preparing to conduct a challenging emergency repair to a major water main in the Orleans Avenue Canal levee along Marconi Drive. Mending the 30-inch, 52-year-old pipe is necessary to safeguard the drinking water supply to most of Lakeview. The work also requires a road closure on Marconi Drive between Harrison and Filmore avenues.

“It takes a highly-coordinated effort to execute a repair of this magnitude,” said Ghassan Korban, Executive Director, Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans. “We want to thank our customers for their patience and understanding as we work to execute this repair.”

The area at highest risk of impact to water pressure during the repair are neighborhoods bounded by the 17th Street Canal, the Orleans Canal, Interstate 610 and Lake Pontchartrain. These areas may experience lower than normal water pressure during the repair.

Planners anticipate a successful repair could take up to 5 hours. Preparation of the site and testing of water pressure will continue throughout the day Thursday. If the testing doesn’t affect pressure, the repair will begin during the day on Friday. Should pressure be a factor, the repair work will begin at 10 p.m. Friday, when fewer customers are using water.

Because the damaged section of the water line is located in a vault embedded in the Orleans Canal levee, SWBNO crews will be extra vigilant to preserve the levee’s integrity.

The top goal is to prevent any pressure drops below the state-mandated 20 psi that would require a boil-water advisory. Crews will diligently monitor pressure throughout the repair, and plans are in place to react swiftly to keep water pressure above 30 psi as much as possible.

Should the damage worsen because of the poor condition of the pipe, or should the repair prove impossible to complete, SWBNO is prepared to replace that length of pipe in the levee. This will require an additional layer of planning and the acquisition of supplies. SWBNO will keep the public informed about the timetable for this larger repair.

SWBNO is in close communication with its partners at the Office of New Orleans Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (NOHSEP) and the New Orleans Fire Department (NOFD). If there is a fire in the impact zone during the repair, crews are prepared to swiftly reverse course, restore water, and support the NOFD in its mission.

Because the intricate work will involve some risk to water pressure, SWBNO urges residents to prepare for a period of low to no water pressure as a precaution.

You can prepare ahead to manage a low-water pressure situation during COVID-19:

  • Stock up on bottled water.
  • Fill your bathtub with clean water to use today, before repair begins.
  • Continue to prevent the spread of COVID-19 during a boil water advisory by washing your hands often with boiled or bottled water.

Should pressure drop below 20 psi and a boil-water advisory be necessary, be prepared to boil water for at least one minute as an extra precaution to ensure your drinking water is safe to use. For more information, visit www.swbno.org/News/BoilWater.

Continue to prevent the spread of COVID-19 during a boil water advisory by washing your hands often with boiled or bottled water or using hand sanitizer.

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