Power failure at wastewater plant forced flood
BATON ROUGE - Monday's deluge turned out to be a test for the city-parish's $1.5 billion sewer project.
The storms knocked out power to the South Wastewater Treatment Plant in the Gardere area and left some people nearby in feet of water, forcing them to sludge through the mess.
"It probably all needs to be deodorized, decontaminated out here," said Gardere resident Ty Davis. "[It] needs a good scrubbing."
Davis and her family walked out to a lot of water, trash and sludge Monday. The water was flowing like a river, away from the wastewater treatment facility toward Gardere. It flooded cars and some apartments, leaving a stench behind. Tuesday, residents left some items lining the street, waiting for trash pickup.
"There were things floating by, I don't know what they were," said Davis. "There were definitely things floating by the water - in the water."
Amy Schulze, Chief of Wastewater Operations and Maintenance with the city-parish, says both feeds of power keeping the treatment plant running went out. The plant had no power and no backup. Generators for the plant still need electrical work, which won't be completed until the end of May.
Monday night, people living around the plant say the generators could have been of some use to them.
"I can't believe that with a multi-million dollar upgrade, that one of their priorities is not having a back-up generator to alleviate this kind of a mess," said Gardere resident Randy Shaw. "Until you actually go through it, you don't know how critical it is to have it fixed."
The city says the biggest headache right now is the weather, preventing crews from completing projects. The extensive sewer project received an extension based after Hurricane Isaac and the completion date was reset to sometime in 2018.