A decision Wednesday by the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East (SLFPA-East) means the embattled Sewerage and Water Board (SWB) won’t operate three key pieces of the hurricane protection system around New Orleans.
Construction is wrapping up on the pump stations at the entrances of the city’s three main drainage canals. All along, the question has been who will run them.
Now the agency in charge of storm surge protection on the east bank of the river says it can do the job.
Joe Hassinger, SLFPA president, says his agency already runs other parts of the hurricane protection system. “I know that if the flood protection authority is the entity operating these stations, when the water comes, every component of the flood defense system, including these control structures at the outfall canals, will perform,” says Hassinger.
The SWB runs drainage pumps throughout the city. It was considered for the job, but it faced criticism after thunderstorms caused widespread flooding this summer.
When construction is finished next year, the pumps will complete a $14.5-billion system designed after Hurricane Katrina.
The Army Corps has been working on permanent pumps and floodgates at the city’s outfall canals for years. They’re supposed to prevent storm surge from filling up the three canals, which contributed to widespread flooding during Katrina.
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