DONALDSONVILLE, LA (WAFB) - A boil water advisory that was in place for Donaldsonville residents was lifted Tuesday morning.
Officials said Thursday morning that water service was restored to 100 percent of customers. Officials said Wednesday night that water would not be shut off in Donaldsonville as previously planned. They also said only about 500 customers remained without water at this time.
As of about 7 p.m. Wednesday night, officials with Ascension Parish said they had made significant progress in restoring water to customers in Donaldsonville. They say water pressure is low, but adequate and supplies are being replenished quickly. Officials say they are "cautiously optimistic" that a shut off a 10 p.m. will not be required. For the few customers who still do not have service, their water should be turned on a 4 a.m. Thursday.
ORIGINAL: Officials with Ascension Parish utilities said burst pipes and running faucets prompted them to shut off water service in the city of Donaldsonville early Wednesday morning.
Parish Utilities of Ascension (PUA) reported the water was turned off around 5 a.m. because "water was being used faster than it was being made." A boil advisory is in effect until further notice.
The broken lines and faucets left open were due to overnight subfreezing temperatures, resulting in rapid and severe water depletion in the system's storage tanks, officials explained.
Martin McConnell, public information officer for Ascension Parish, believes the frigid temperatures combined with the possibility of people running their faucets overnight rather than just dripping them to protect their pipes likely spelled a recipe for disaster in the city. "There was a lot of water running overnight in the City of Donaldsonville and that caused just a rapid, catastrophic depletion of the water system there," said McConnell.
Officials added crews are isolating lines to provide water to the most critical services, like Prevost Memorial Hospital and Chateau DeVille Rehab and Retirement Center. According to officials, the Ascension Parish Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness is providing water to the facilities.
Officials said as of 2 p.m. Wednesday, partial water service was restored to 80 percent of the roughly 3,000 affected customers, including critical areas such as Prevost Memorial Hospital and Chateau DeVille Rehab and Retirement Center.
Smith Garrison, who has been living on W 10th Street for nearly 30 years, was one of the residents who remained without water by the afternoon. He tells 9News he had a wild morning. "I went to the bathroom around 5 a.m. and everything was shut off and then I asked my wife if she shut the valve off and she said she didn't." Garrison explained. "That's when I got crazy."
Garrison says what's worse than waking up without water is not being told from the company that interruptions would take place. He said he did not find out about the outage until watching 9News much later in the morning. "They didn't notify us you know," he added. "They should have notified us."
Not only were residents affected, but many businesses were without water as well, forcing many of them to shut their doors for the day.
Parish officials were quick to apologize Wednesday afternoon for what they admit was a major problem in Donaldsonville. "It's a terrible inconvenience right now and we certainly do apologize and want everyone to know that we are doing everything that we possibly can to restore their water as quickly as possible," said McConnell.
President Kenny Matassa is still asking residents to conserve water, otherwise the system will have to be shut off before 10 p.m. Residents can head to 725 Church St. to get free drinking water until 8 p.m. They are asked to bring their own containers.
PUA said the water is expected to be turned back on for all customers by Thursday at 4 a.m.
Officials urge people to turn off all faucets in their homes and businesses as the risk of the pipes freezing overnight will not be an issue since there will be no pressure in the lines at the time of the most severe freeze.
"Please cut that off so that we can replenish that water supply and then at 4 a.m. when the water does comes back on, we are urging people to boil all of their drinking water," McConnell added.
They added customers in unincorporated West Ascension serviced by ACUD No. 1 are not affected.