Jan 11, 2010 7:39 PM by Kate Mundy

Freeze to Blame For Water Pressure Problems

With seven nights below freezing, Cecilia Water Corporation is dealing with constant pipe busts and extremely low water pressure.

The pipe busting cold weather is so bad, classes were empty at Breaux Bridge Christian Academy on Monday. A sign on the door read: "School closed because we have no water."

With just a trickle and 125 students, BBCA staff made the decision to keep kids away for the day, for the sake of the water system. "The little bit of water we had and we're gonna be flushing all day long with kids, it would've probably jeopardized them even more," said Principal and Owner Cathy Benoit Richard.

The water pressure problem is being called an unprecedented event. Until now, Cecilia has been through hurricanes, dry summers and freezes with no issues.

"It all started with a couple house fires here there were four fire trucks involved and they took water at the same time and depleted our system and it just seems like we couldn't keep up with it," said Bruce Guidry Vice President on the Cecilia Water Corporation Board.

As customers continue to let water trickle, the demand is over-extending 100 miles of water lines, especially on the western end of the system. And for the third day, residents had to cope with little or no water. "You can't take a shower at night, you can't make coffee in the morning or anything, using bottled water to drink or bathe in any kind of way you can, pretty much. Kinda like a third world country almost," said Nathaniel Rougeau.

Rogeau's brother Daniel resorted to bathing outside on a chilly Monday morning. "It's been hard to take a bath so I cranked the hot tub up, so I have a little hot water," he said.

By one o'clock Monday afternoon, water employees were extremely busy. "We had over ten calls in just the last hour to shut off meters for broken pipes, so we're figuring broken pipes and the combination of drip, we're losing water at a rate that we cannot keep up with," said Guidry.

The Cecilia Water Corporation is working on preventing future problems. They're drilling a test well this week for a brand new production plant that serves customers on the west end. It could be ready by the middle of 2011.

As far as the water pressure, Guidry asks customers to limit water usage and not trickle water through their faucets.

KATC Meteorologist Rob Perillo forecasts two more freezing nights, so the problem will continue in Cecilia for at least one, if not two more days.


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