Civil Engineering Companies Point Out Causes of New Orleans Flooding as $34-Million Budget Approved

New Orleans’ Sewerage and Water Board and Department of Public Works are set to receive an additional $34 million to their budget to fix drainage problems in the city. This move by the City Council was made in response to severe flooding that occurred on August 5. The budget will cover catch basin and drainage repairs and the implementation of future flood preventive measures.

Under the plan, high water alarms, rain gauges and warning signals will be installed at 12 underpasses, while a portion will go to emergency evacuations. Crews and contractors will also be hired to evaluate and clear 15,000 catch basins. These solutions were set following statements from civil engineering experts who pointed out the roots of the flooding problems in the city.


Unclear Catch Basins


One of the glaring causes of flooding in the city are blocked drainage catch basins. Leaves and debris that get stuck in the basins are making it difficult for rainwater to move through the drainage pipes and canals across the city. Residents have been urged to clear the basins, but civil engineer H.J. Bosworth said that it’s not a simple task. Catch basins weigh more than 400lbs. If not handled properly, working on them could cause injuries. That’s why it’s necessary for a professional to do this job.

New Orleans has the largest pumping system in the world, with the biggest station No. 1 on Broad St. Several decades later, the station gave birth to 24 stations with 121 pumps in total. With all the water accumulated in these pumps, they can fill a swimming pool in just 1.5 seconds. There’s a huge new pumping station located on the outfall canals. Though it’s only meant to be used for tropical events should the Lake Pontchartrain flood gates close, the city government is considering using it to deal with the flooding.

Bosworth, however, said that in that case, the outfall station would only start working once the pumps nearer the city interior are able to send the water to the lake. Unfortunately, there are not enough operators to work on these pumps.


Lack of Skilled Workers


There’s been an exodus of retiring workers in the drainage division. The board also has difficulties in retaining skilled workers. Because of this, there’s a lack in efficient manpower who can do the job right. For instance, a crucial pumping station wasn’t operated for hours during the August 5 flooding because there’s no one available to do it. If this situation continues, flooding in the city would be harder to prevent. Officials are calling for improvement to civil service rules to ensure that crews and operators have the right skills for the job.

With all the solutions lined up for the flooding problem, the city would need reliable services from civil engineering companies in New Orleans. They have a team trained in public works and equipped with the right knowledge and tools.


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