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Hurricane Katrina Impacts on Wastewater Infrastructure - Lessons Learned

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Hurricane Katrina's impact on wastewater infrastructure throughout the Louisiana and Mississippi Gulf Coast was dramatic. Many communities suffered damage to their facilities, requiring extensive repairs. The operation of the facilities was affected and facility access restricted, operational records destroyed, the availability of operational staff limited, and communications completely disrupted. The storm effects varied from community to community with many suffering severe impacts. Like no other storm, Hurricane Katrina completely impacted entire communities and infrastructure systems. Communities such as St. Bernard Parish were comprehensively impacted. All sewer lift stations were damaged, all wastewater facilities were flooded, all power was eliminated, many records were destroyed, including inventories and billing records, access to facilities was blocked for weeks due to floodwaters, communications were completely disrupted and other organizational problems were encountered. Although many municipalities in this region had extensive hurricane preparedness plans, the comprehensive impacts of Hurricane Katrina exposed the weaknesses of existing infrastructure and preparedness approaches. This paper discusses the weaknesses of current hurricane preparedness plans exposed by Hurricane Katrina and methods to address these weaknesses.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2007-01-01

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