Officials: Water plant still needs repairs

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 15, 1999

FERRIDAY, La. – When state health officials made a preliminary inspection of the town’s water plant Wednesday, they took the first step towards lifting a boil-water notice in effect for the town since Aug. 20.

The visit revealed that most fixes at the plant have have been done, said Michael Cazes, regional engineer for the Office of Public Health, who visited the plant with two assistants. &uot;If you could see what (the plant) looked like in August … it’s like a different world here now,&uot;&160;Cazes said.

But some fixes still remain. And how fast the town makes those fixes will determine how soon health officials can return — and how soon the notice can be lifted. &uot;When (the town) is done, they’ll call us and we’ll reschedule an inspection,&uot;&160;Cazes said.

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&uot;Today is just the first step,&uot;&160;Mayor Odeal Montgomery said Wednesday. As to when the notice might be lifted, she said, &uot;We’ll have to wait and see.&uot;

Late last month, the Office of Public Health gave the town a list of improvements to be made before health workers would even inspect the town’s water plant to see whether the notice could be lifted.

Five hours of inspecting the plant and meeting with town officials and water plant workers revealed that most of those repairs have been done, Cazes said.

Those fixes included repairing chemical pumps, adding new beads to filters to take debris from the water and servicing valves on the structure that draws water from Old River.

But a handful of repairs are still left to be done, such as calibrating meters that check the water’s turbidity, or clarity; checking chemical pumps to make sure they work correctly; and replacing a chlorine sensor, Cazes said.

If health officials reinspect the plant and determine that the needed repairs have been completed, they will take water samples.

They will then check the town’s water system at different locations to make sure enough chlorine is in the water. If chlorine levels are acceptable, the water samples will be checked to see whether coliform bacteria are within acceptable levels.

If all those criteria are met, the state will lift the boil-water notice, and the town’s residents and businesses will be notified they can use unboiled town water. The state will continue watching Ferriday’s water system closely.