VP’s boil advisory lifted Saturday
By: CARISSA HEBERT
The City of Ville Platte remained under a boil advisory until Saturday, August 23, after a major water leak had to be repaired early Thursday evening.
Mayor Bill Jeanmard lifted the boil advisory after receiving notification from the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals - Office of Public Health that the additional water quality tests indicated the water was safe to drink. Anytime water service is interrupted, the city takes water samples to have them tested to be sure the water is okay for consumption. Jeanmard said the advisory was voluntary and only a precaution. “We would like to thank the public for their cooperation and understanding,” he said. Again, there is no further need to boil water from the City of Ville Platte Water System.”
On Thursday, a leak was discovered between the two Railroad streets just north of Hickory St., in the southern portion of the city. Jeanmard said it appeared to be an average leak, but when workers arrived to repair it, they discovered a six-inch line had corroded over time and had to be repaired extensively. When the top layer of dirt was removed to make the repairs, the amount of water indicated there was a major problem.
Jeanmard said after the last time the water was turned off, the city developed protocols. There were two to follow; one being notification. He said it took approximately 20 minutes to notify the media of the problem. They gave residents one hour to prepare for the water to be shut off. He said his staff did an excellent job of following protocol and he thanked the media for notifying residents.
As workers attempted to find a shutoff valve, they discovered the valve had eroded over time, so this forced the entire system to be turned off so repairs could be made. Later, Jeanmard spoke to field experts who believed lightning may have struck the valve at one point causing some of the damage shown in the photo on this page. Over time, the problem grew until it was discovered when the nearby line began leaking.
Jeanmard said the ground does shift at times, so the dry weather may have contributed to the break in the pipe, which was described as brittle.
A boil advisory was initiated by the mayor Thursday evening as a precautionary measure. On Friday, 10 water samples were sent to the lab. Jeanmard said Cliff Fontenot, deputy clerk over water production; Ted Demoruelle, fire chief; and Shelley Fruge, city clerk, did an excellent job. He also commended the city workers and the council, who was involved in some way in helping to rectify this situation.
Besides serving as fire chief, Demoruelle holds dual duties as emergency preparedness person for the city. He said everything went extremely well. He sent firefighters to businesses to notify them of the coming water shutoff, especially places like the hospital and nursing home. He put firefighters on standby as the work was being completed. Unfortunately the system had to be turn off for the repairs, Demoruelle said. The entire system was probably shut down for only 30 minutes, and he was pleased the way things went.
Recently, city leaders met with The Gazette to discuss aging water lines. A millage for 30 years will be put before voters on the October 4, ballot. The city wants to secure at least 30 mills to make repairs to the water system, as well as give raises to employees and improve some areas of the city.