Power failure causes New Orleans water pressure loss; contamination possible, officials say

Boil water advisory in effect until tests complete

NEW ORLEANS - New Orleans officials advised many residents to boil water for safety after a boiler-room power failure at the plant supplying electricity to the city's treatment plant caused a loss of water pressure across a large portion of the city Sunday.

Widespread loss of water pressure has been reported in New Orleans, and the city is advising residents in a large swath of the city boil their water.

The incident may have opened the way for water contamination. Officials are advising residents on the Mississippi River's east bank to boil drinking water while samples from across the city are tested.

The city said in a statement Sunday morning that Sewerage & Water Board officials were still working to determine the cause of the loss of water pressure at the S&WB Power Plant.

The statement said the boil water advisory is in effect for all of the East Bank of Orleans Parish until further notice from the city.

Mayor Mitch Landrieu tweeted Sunday morning: "Widespread loss of water pressure reported. We are looking into it the matter."

Most of New Orleans, including the French Quarter and Central Business District, is on the east bank.

Tap water was flowing again within an hour of the incident. The problem started about 9 a.m. Central time Sunday.

Engineers are investigating what caused the power failure.

It takes at least 24 hours to tell whether there are potentially dangerous bacteria in the water.

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