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Power loss leads to water problems, and grumbles, in New Orleans

New Orleans residents were grumbling after another loss in water pressure led to contamination fears across the city.
(Michael DeMocker / New Orleans Times-Picayune)

New Orleans: Come for the food, but don’t drink the water. (Not right now, anyway.)

New Orleans’ East Bank was under a boil order Sunday after a small fire at the parish’s Sewerage and Water Board Power Plant caused a power loss that resulted in low water pressure, officials said.

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No one was reported hurt in the fire.

The contamination fears brought grumbles from residents (see below) about the city’s long-maligned infrastructure, which saw similar contamination fears in October after a mechanical failure at a power plant resulted in a loss of water pressure.

The boil order was expected to last at least 24 hours as officials tested the water to determine whether it had been contaminated. Water pressure was reported to be back to normal.

A $141-million project proposal in 2011 detailed wide-ranging problems with the city’s eastside water woes, with the water board reporting 600 power outages in the previous six years. One pump station and some electrical systems were constructed in the early 1900s, according to the proposal.

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New Orleans’ infrastructural image also suffered a recent black eye after the Superdome got socked with a power outage during the Super Bowl, resulting in a high-profile delay — and unfortunate memories of the city’s physical deterioration under Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

Bathing is not recommended for infants or pets. Sponge bathing recommended for now. #NOLA #BoilWaterAdvisory — NOLA Ready (@nolaready) March 3, 2013

#nola needs a #Superbowl for infrastructure. No clean water — again! Can’t be the world’s best host w/o being the best neighbors to ourselves. — Andre Perry (@andreperrynola) March 3, 2013

Another day, another boil advisory... don’t drink the water! #NewOrleans is so third world sometimes. — Sarah Danger (@thesarahdanger) March 3, 2013

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New Orleans is under a boil water advisory because our infrastructure is old and we can’t afford to fix it. America, this is your future. — Bart Everson (@editor_b) March 3, 2013

Really can’t get worked up over this boil water emergency. If you have lived in #Nola for 20 plus yrs, you are probably immune. — CJ Mordock (@CJMordock) March 3, 2013

Why do I always find out about water boil advisories after I’ve downed numerous glasses of water.... — Mary Thiel (@MaryEThiel) March 3, 2013

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matt.pearce@latimes.com


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