Ferriday water back on

Published 12:00 am Sunday, March 12, 2006

FERRIDAY &8212; The bad news for Ferriday residents is they will have to boil their water until Tuesday.

The good news is that, after two dry days, they should at least have something to boil as of this morning.

After fixing a second problem at the same spot, water department Supervisor Gregory Griggs said the system came back on line at 7 p.m. and full pressure should have been restored by this morning.

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Griggs said the boil order would stay in effect until bacteria samples are tested by the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals.

&8220;We flushed the lines and have everything chlorinated and will pull bacteria samples Monday morning and take them to Alexandria,&8221; he said.

Griggs said the results should come back in Tuesday, and if they get the green light, the boil order will be lifted.

Chris Soileau, an engineer with DHH, said his department was very much aware of what was going on.

&8220;We&8217;re treating this as an emergency situation,&8221; he said.

&8220;Whenever Mr. Griggs gets the work done, we&8217;ll take the samples and get them right to the lab.&8221;

Ferriday residents were very much aware of the situation as well, as they flooded the stores in town for bottled water.

&8220;I&8217;ve got to buy water to flush my toilet,&8221; Tiffany Brown said. &8220;This is sad.&8221;

It&8217;s a tragedy in two parts.

Early Thursday morning the town&8217;s main water line burst. The break came at the T-intersection where the output line from the treatment plant turns into town. The other end of the top of the T was intended to take water to Ridgecrest, which now has its own plant. The valve connecting the intersection broke, which Alderman Jerome Harris compared to a head gasket blowing.

The valve was recapped, the lines flushed, chlorinated and recharged and service was restored at 9 p.m.

It was five hours until the next problem, this time when the T-intersection kicked the output line from the plant out of the joint, causing a new leak.

Cecil Gassiott, whose contracting company was called in to fix the problem, said the water coming from the plant, when it hits the intersection, causes a lot of pressure and that all it doesn&8217;t take much for the pipe to slip out.

&8220;It&8217;s only got to move about an inch-and-a-half,&8221; he said. &8220;And then it&8217;ll slip out and leak.&8221;

In order to prevent the T from kicking the output line again, Gassiott poured six cubic yards of cement &8212; two mixer trucks-full &8212; into the area behind the top of the T, a bracing area called a kicker.

Mayor Gene Allen said the boil order is just a precaution and that the situation is under control.

&8220;This is not a water plant problem, this is just one of those things,&8221; he said. &8220;Everybody has problems.&8221;

That was no consolation to irate citizens like Brown, who feel the town has had too great a share of water problems.

&8220;You shouldn&8217;t take a job you can&8217;t handle and inconvenience people like this. It&8217;s unfair to the citizens of this town. We shouldn&8217;t have to live like this,&8221; she said.

Concordia Water Works again lent the city water at a reduced pressure for much of the morning. But it again had to shut the town off in the middle of the afternoon, when its peak demand period started.

Not everyone was upset about the problem, however, as hundreds of students got an early, if dry, start on the weekend when schools closed because of the lack of water.