Every time it rains in New Orleans these days, residents wince.

Monday was no different, as storms dumped as much as 4 inches of water on parts of the city over the course of several hours.

In fact, the downpour proved to be the most serious test of the city's hobbled drainage system since Aug. 5, when flooding exposed major problems with the Sewerage & Water Board's pumps, power systems and staffing.

Let's just say, things could have gone better. 

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Two of the five pumps at Pump Station No. 3 on St. Bernard Avenue, which drains parts of Gentilly and serves to push water from as far away as Broadmoor toward Lake Pontchartrain, could not be turned on because of power issues.

The pumps, which represent almost 27 percent of the station’s full capacity, are not damaged themselves, said Paul Rainwater, the interim director of the S&WB as part of an emergency management team that has led the utility for nearly two months.

The problem with those pumps stemmed from the failure of a frequency changer at the utility's Carrollton power plant that converts standard electricity to the archaic standard used by about half the pumps in the system, said Renee Lapeyrolerie, the interim communications director for the S&WB.

Some power could have been rerouted to the two pumps, but it would have risked damaging them, Lapeyrolerie said.

While all the pumping stations were staffed and a newly repaired power turbine did well during the storm, the smaller pumps that are supposed to keep the city's underpasses from flooding appear to have had problems as well, Rainwater said.

Both pumps were out at the Bay Street underpass near where Interstate 10 and Interstate 610 merge. Two of the three pumps at the Carrollton Avenue underpass near Canal Street weren’t working. And one of the two pumps at the Broad Street underpass at A.P. Tureaud Avenue was down.

To cap things off, a pipe burst near the Canal Boulevard underpass. The S&WB knew weeks ago that there was a potential problem with the drainage system in that area, but workers were unable to locate the source of the problem before the pipe ruptured, Rainwater said.

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“Typically, water gathers there anyway,” he said of the underpass. “So this just made the situation worse.”

Rainwater also said a frequency changer at a pump station on Peoples Avenue had to be powered by generators because Entergy was doing work that affected the lines that normally feed it. That, however, was an expected challenge and one that Rainwater used as an example that the planning and drills the utility has done in recent weeks have paid off.

There was one bit of good news for the drainage system on Monday. Turbine 3, which has been in need of repairs since earlier this year, was brought back online and was able to generate power for the system.

That means three of the five turbines that provide in-house power to the S&WB are operational and the utility can generate about 34 megawatts of power in-house. Officials have said it would take about 40 megawatts to run the system solely on power generated by the S&WB and without relying on some power from Entergy.

Crews are running Turbine 3 at 10 megawatts instead of the 15 megawatts it’s rated for.

“We’re not going to take a chance with it,” Rainwater said.

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Staff writer Ramon Antonio Vargas contributed to this report.

Follow Jeff Adelson on Twitter, @jadelson.​