High river levels turn off water in Tensas Parish

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 24, 2009

ST. JOSEPH — Utility customers in St. Joseph in Tensas Parish were without water for approximately 24 hours following the rupture of a water main Sunday.

Mayor Edward Brown said he first became aware of the break at approximately 1 p.m. Sunday, and that it was repaired and water service was restored at approximately noon Monday.

High water from the Mississippi River caused the soil around the water system infrastructure to shift, and when the shift occurred the pipe broke, Brown said.

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“Basically, our water distribution system is more than 50 years old, so you are going to expect these things,” he said.

“We expect these problems throughout the year.”

While the break has been repaired, Brown said the Department of Health and Hospitals has issued a boil-water notice for the town.

DHH protocol mandates a boil-water notice be issued any time there is a break in a water line.

The DHH will be testing the water Wednesday, and Brown said once it has tested clear of any contaminants the boil order will be lifted.

“We are taking steps to flush the water system and make sure there is adequate chlorine, and that is all we can do,” Brown said.

The mayor said the town will appeal to federal and state bodies for help to update the aging water infrastructure to help future such happenings.

“We are going to take some steps to get some money from Washington, D.C., or Baton Rouge to address it,” Brown said. “It is very old. It has lived its useful life, and we are trying to get it some new life.”