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

March 03, 2013|By Matt Pearce
  • New Orleans residents were grumbling after another loss in water pressure led to contamination fears across the city.
New Orleans residents were grumbling after another loss in water pressure… (Michael DeMocker / New Orleans…)

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.

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.

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.

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matt.pearce@latimes.com

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