News Feature | January 30, 2018

During Cold Snap, New Orleans Issues Boil Water Advisory

Peter Chawaga - editor

By Peter Chawaga, Associate Editor, Water Online

new orleans.reg

A temporary boil water advisory was issued in New Orleans last week, indicating serious problems with the city’s drinking water infrastructure during cold weather.

“The West Bank of New Orleans is now under a boil water advisory after a sudden drop in water pressure, the Sewage and Water Board [S&WB] announced Tuesday afternoon,” per The Advocate. “The advisory comes days after several such orders were issued across Louisiana as it battled bitter cold temperatures for several days.”

Officials traced the pressure drop back to a break in a 30-inch water main, though there was no immediate comment on what caused the break. It was one of many that the city reported during a harsh snap of cold weather.

“In an address to the New Orleans City Council, S&WB Interim Director Marcie Edwards said that 452 work orders were issued during the deep freeze, 143 of which have been repaired,” according to The Advocate. “Those leaks, when combined with burst pipes and leaks on private property, on top of the faucets that countless customers turned on to prevent frozen pipes, led to strikingly low water pressure that prompted a boil-water advisory for multiple days.”

With pressures dropping down to less than 15 pounds per square inch, contaminants have an easier route into the water system and potentially into consumers’ homes.

After a few days, the West Bank’s boil water advisory was lifted.

“The advisory was canceled after water quality testing for bacterial candidates came back negative, S&WB spokesman Richard Rainey said,” according to a subsequent report from The Advocate. “It was the third such advisory in less than a week for New Orleans, after several days of unusually low temperatures froze numerous public and residential pipes.”

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Image credit: “New Orleans,” Marco Galdames, 2015, used under an Attribution 2.0 Generic license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/