Water crisis shows community’s strength

Published 12:00 am Saturday, August 28, 1999

Water, water everywhere … But when will it be safe to drink? That’s the question on the minds of more than 4,000 Ferriday,&160;La., residents as they enter a second week of a boil water notice.

The water woes, which included a three-day shutdown of the town’s water system, stem from improper maintenance and an intentional override of the system shutdown’s measures (a switch was tied back with a rope … obviously intentional and incredibly dangerous).

A week later, the filters are clean and state officials say the water is safe for healthy adults to use for bathing.

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All others, including children, should still boil their bath water. And no one can drink the water without boiling it for at least another two weeks.

The strain on residents and the community has been tremendous, from the everyday inconveniences of not having enough water to flush commodes and take baths to loss of revenue at the businesses which were forced to shut down during the crisis.

Despite the bleak news – the governor has declared Ferriday a disaster area and city officials are seeking funding to help repair and recover – the crisis revealed some important strengths in the fabric of the community.

From business partners such as Coca-Cola, which was on hand with gallons of bottled water for free distribution, to the Concordia Parish Sheriff’s deputies who spent their days delivering water to elderly and shut-in residents, the community found its share of good neighbors during the crisis.

And, with city leaders apparently committed to repairing the water plant damages and preventing future problems, Ferriday might find a silver lining after all.