Water tanks brought in

Published 12:05am Friday, August 26, 2011

FERRIDAY — Ferriday residents have been dealing with low water pressure, a boil-water advisory and excessive heat since last Thursday, and with the town’s water plant operating on one filter, officials are asking for help from anywhere they can get it.

“We are limping along like a three-legged dog,” Mayor Glen McGlothin said. “We are trying to get a grant to help fix the broken filter so we aren’t relying on one.”

The mayor said the lack of a filter, combined with the low water levels in Old River has spelled disaster for residents trying to get water during the hot, dry summer.

“Even with the broken pump, we are sending 1,100 gallons of water a minute to town,” he said. “No one is conserving any water.”

To help with the problem, the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, the Department of Health and Hospitals and the Louisiana National Guard responded to the town’s water shortage Thursday by providing 14 military water tanks throughout the town.

“In the meantime, I encourage all affected residents to take advantage of the resources provided by the National Guard,” State Health Officer Jimmy Guidry said in a press release. “Residents should always stay hydrated, but it is especially important considering the extreme temperatures our state is experiencing.”

McGlothin said every year during the months of August and September, the low water level in the Mississippi River creates problems for the town’s aging water plant.

“The biggest thing right now is how hot and dry it is, because this 100-degree weather every day is not helping,” he said. “What we could really use is a nice three-inch rain to help things out.”

McGlothin said because of the low water levels, the plant’s filters and pumps start to treat less water and more organic material that sits on top of the river.

McGlothin said initial estimates of the damage at the water plant indicate the town will need approximately $100,000 for repairs.

“These pumps are just overworked, and they are every summer,” he said. “And we are going to have to hope we get a grant to pay for this.”

Ferriday has had problems with its water plant and water meters for years, leaving a large hole in the town’s bank account due to lack of payments for water services received.

The Louisiana Rural Water Association revealed in a study that approximately 70 percent of the town’s water meters do not work properly.

McGlothin and the town have been working to fix the town’s 20-year-old water problem through a new water plant funded by a $6 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

McGlothin said the town expects to know more information on the plant’s repairs and the status of the water by Monday.