Multiple New Orleans sewage pumps lost power as Hurricane Ida began to thrash Louisiana Sunday morning, with officials calling for remaining residents to limit their usage of wastewater in homes.
The outages increase the potential for sewage backups in homes, read a statement from the Sewerage and Water Board.
Residents are asked to limit unnecessary uses of water in their homes, such as running the dishwasher or laundry units. Pumps failed on both the east and west banks of New Orleans, though the number of disabled pumps was not specified.
New Orleans Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness director reminded residents in a Sunday press conference not to expect utility work responders until safe conditions return.
Generators were being deployed to address the outages, which could be related to a substation issue or a breaker, officials said.
“If you don’t need to use water, don’t use it — for the moment. … Just be conservative,” said Ramsey Green, Deputy Chief Administrative Officer for Infrastructure.
While the outages could present sewage issues, they should not impact the city's water systems that will be pumping water out of the city. The S&WB announced Sunday morning that 96 of the city's 99 drainage pumps were active and available throughout the storm, with multiple power turbines and generators ready if needed. Nearly 75,000 residents were already without power as of noon, with the bulk of the storm yet to come.
Ida had strengthened to a strong Category 4 storm ahead of landfall expected in the Port Fourchon area Sunday afternoon, with hurricane force winds likely to impact New Orleans and much of south Louisiana throughout the day. Rain totals up to 20 inches are expected in some areas.