A number of Terrebonne Parish’s electric pump stations don’t have backup generators, a problem recently brought to light by Parish President Gordy Dove.

The issue has existed for least 10 or 15 years, Parish Manager Mike Toups said Monday, but was only recently acknowledged by the administration and the Parish Council.

All of the parish’s pump stations work on a daily basis, but if power is lost, some areas will see flooding.

“It’s mind-boggling why this was allowed to do that,” Dove said.

A report of the situation by Forced Drainage Superintendent Carl Ledet prompted Dove to act, the parish president said. He gave Toups the authority to buy surplus emergency generators.

The parish has 19 electric pump stations that have no generators or switch boxes that would be used to hook up generators, Dove said at the Feb. 21 council meeting.

Since then, the parish has begun purchasing generators for “pennies on the dollar” from the Louisiana Surplus Property Authority, Toups said.

The company has a list of the parish’s needs, and as soon as the right generators become available, the parish is notified, he said.

Those that can’t be purchased as surplus property will be purchased new under Dove's authority, Toups said.

The administration is hoping to have all backups purchased by the end of the year.

Monday, Councilman John Navy asked the administration to update the council on the status of the pumps at every meeting until all pump stations are equipped with generators.

“This is crazy,” Navy repeatedly said about the situation.

Out of the 186 pump stations in the parish, those without backup account for about 10 percent, Dove said last month.

The electric and diesel pumps were never designed for a backup generator, Councilman Steve Trosclair said.

The new pumps being installed around the parish are electric and include backup diesel engines. Sewage pumps are already equipped with generators, he said.

Toups touted the measure as a productive use of money to prevent damage during heavy rains.

“All we need is a major rain event to lose power,” Councilman Steve Trosclair said at the February meeting.

The lack of generators appears to be concentrated in Districts 1 and 2, those of Navy and Arlanda Williams, Navy said.

“We should have backup generators for communities whether the home cost $50,000 or $250,000,” he said.

With so many added generators, Councilman Dirk Guidry expressed concern about having enough fuel trucks to supply them during storms.

The parish has two trucks now and hires contractors to assist during storm events. All operators also have additional fuel tanks on their trucks, Ledet said.

Staff Writer Julia Arenstam can be reached at 448-7636 or julia.arenstam@houmatoday.com. Follow her on Twitter at @gingerale214.