Waterline Renewal Technologies

A Constant Theme: Bursting Water Mains and Aging Infrastructure

New Orleans. Rainfall. Flooding. Broken Pipes. Aging Infrastructure. These words are all connected and coincide with one another. The city’s aging infrastructure needs attention and it needs attention now.

The mayor has constantly been asking for more money to upgrade the dilapidated infrastructure to no avail and the most recent issue came in the form of a broken water main causing weak or no water pressure.

The pipe was installed in 1905 and cut off the water supply needed for necessary medical procedures at Children’s Hospital and caused problems at other medical facilities in the area. This is a major problem and the city won’t getting any relief with hurricane season fast approaching.

Broken pipes are nothing new in New Orleans. But the length and severity of the recent leak and its impact on medical treatments highlighted the potentially dangerous effects of the city’s long-standing problems with its ancient infrastructure.

One reason the leak could not be closed quickly was the difficulty crews encountered in determining which of two pipes that run alongside each other was leaking, Rainey said. In addition, many of their shut-off valves were so old that they didn’t work properly, keeping the workers from fully cutting off the water supply and forcing them to move onto the next valve in hopes that it would work.

Because of those issues, the water pressure could not be restored and the actual repairs could not begin until much later.

Residents in the affected area whose immune systems are compromised were advised not to wash hands, shower or bathe with tap water.

Many residents are used to this and find it completely frustrating, but what was most frustrating and unsettling about this break is that it affected hospitals that included Children’s and Ochsner Baptist.

The problems at Children’s Hospital were particularly serious in that water pressure that is normally at 40 pounds per square inch dropped to 3 psi, too low to feed pediatric hemodialysis equipment that for some children is their only option for treatment in the state.

Going too long without treatment, which must be done on specialized machines that are different from those used for adults, can have life-threatening consequences. Fortunately, pressure was restored to the hospital at mid-morning.

These most recent problems fueled calls for much more infrastructure funding in New Orleans. There are pipes more than 100 years old, like much of the country. The one with the most recent break is 114 years old.

New Orleans is like many cities where its residents cannot live with constant interruptions and possibilities where lives are put in jeopardy due to failing and aging infrastructure.

Many people don’t even consider the aging infrastructure and what it takes to maintain it. If you are a homeowner, business owner or municipality looking for information on protecting, lining and repairing pipes, or for the nearest installer, contact Perma-Liner™ today.

Perma-Liner is the leading manufacturer and supplier of trenchless pipeline rehabilitation equipment and materials in North America. For 20 years, we have developed systems to rehabilitate existing sewer systems without excavation. Our experience in the CIPP industry has allowed us to design, patent and manufacture state of the art technology in order for us to repair structures without excavation.