Temporary fix stops deluge of sewage from burst pipe in Metairie

“The system was like it was in the 1930s when we started developing here,” said ward president Cynthia Lee Sheng.

METAIRIE, La. – Repair crews in Jefferson Parish stopped the torrent of sewage from a broken pipe on a main road through Metairie on Thursday, two days after heavy rain caused the foul-smelling disaster.

The crack in the 66-inch pipe under West Napoleon Avenue had been temporarily repaired when it first burst last month. But earlier this week, while the crews were waiting for the parts needed for permanent repairs, the worst happened.

Rains from heavy storms on Tuesday put too much pressure on the seal and caused it to burst again. The stretch between Clearview Parkway and Transcontinental Drive has since been shut down because sewage was pumped to the ground and repair crews tried to contain the river.

On Thursday, they managed to put a new temporary tape around the damaged area. Unless problems upstream do not compel them to delay their work, the crews plan to work through the morning to complete the seal.

The pipe that carries both sewage and drainage is large and supplies about 75% of the East Bank. It’s also old, which Pastor President Cynthia Lee Sheng said was an important factor in the break.

“The system was like the 1930s when we started development here,” she said.

It finally goes into the Suburban Canal, which flows into a pumping station on Lake Pontchartrain. It is then ultimately pushed into the lake.

The JP environmental department plans to take samples from both the Elmwood and Suburban canals to measure the levels of dissolved oxygen and feces in the water. When they ran these tests in February after the first break, they found no environmental impact.

Officials believe the results of this round of testing will be the same as most of the extra force on the pipe was caused by excessive rainfall mixing with normal flow and diluting it.

The results from the channels are expected to take at least five days.

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