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Frigid weather causing water main breaks and pipes to burst throughout the city

Deborah Bayliss
Shreveport Times
Shreveport Fire Department responds to a water main break at American Tower in downtown Shreveport Tuesday afternoon.

The cold weather is wreaking havoc on the pipes and water mains that are bursting and breaking all over Shreveport.

A statement from Shreveport Mayor Adrian Perkin's office said Water and Sewerage Department crews are working to repair the burst pipes and water main breaks throughout the city.

Frozen pipes, bursts, and main breaks are the cause for low to no water pressure being reported across the city.

Shreveport City Councilman John Nickelson shared a response on social media about the water main breaks.

"Today's record low temperature of 1°F has had a significant impact on Shreveport's water system. We have experienced water main breaks all over the city; many of the booster pumps that supplement our water pressure were adversely impacted by the rolling power blackouts; the water towers which provide systemwide pressure are temporarily offline while they are being refilled."

William Daniel, director of water and sewerage, advised Nickelson that he and his staff are doing everything they can to improve water pressure throughout the city, with priority being given to hospitals, according to Nickelson's post.

"The weather will get worse over the next couple of days before it gets better, and the water pressure problem will not be resolved immediately," Nickelson wrote. "Please be patient; check on elderly and disabled family, friends, and neighbors; and do everything you can to conserve water. This is a once-in-a-lifetime weather event, and city workers are doing everything they can to help us get through it safely.''

Shreveport City Councilman Grayson Boucher shared comments in a social media post as well.

"We are unfortunately going through some uncharted territory with temperatures hitting record lows. I for one hate inconvenience but I’m afraid this weather event is going to cause even more issues over the next few days,"  Boucher wrote in his post.

The City of Shreveport has issued a citywide boil advisory, effective immediately in response to the breaks for when service is restored.

The advisory affects all customers of the city’s water system. Water pressure in many areas of the city is extremely low due to the unprecedented winter storm and resulting water main blowouts across the water distribution system.

Crews are working to identify and repair water main blowouts as quickly as possible. During this time and once all repairs are made, the water supplied by the distribution system to facilities may be of questionable microbiological quality.

The "voluntary boil advisory" is a precaution, the Department of Water and Sewerage is issuing for when service is restored and until water samples are collected and analyzed to indicate the absence of coliform bacteria.

It is recommended that water be disinfected before drinking it (including fountain drinks), making ice, brushing teeth, or rinsing food, etc.

The following is advised: Boil water for one full minute in a clean container. The one-minute mark starts after the water has been brought to a rolling boil.

The Department of Water and Sewerage, with approval from the Louisiana Department of Health, will rescind the boil advisory and notify customers that the water has been deemed safe once satisfactory laboratory test results are obtained.

Additionally, the entire Bossier City water system as of 5 a.m. Thursday, is also under a boil advisory.  This advisory includes all of the City of Bossier water service areas and all systems such as the Cypress Black Bayou Water System, the Town of Benton Water System, and the Country Place Water System.  

Planning for the storms

Caddo Parish and City of Shreveport officials met on Feb. 14 to make final preparations ahead of anticipated winter storms.

Gathering at the Caddo Emergency Operations Center, officials discussed everything from roads to shelters to hospital preparations.

Caddo Sheriff Steve Prator, who serves as director of Caddo's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, hosted the meeting, which was also attended by Perkins and Caddo Parish Administrator Dr. Woodrow Wilson.

According to the Caddo Sheriff's Office, auxiliary as well as reserve deputies are on stand-by to assist patrol deputies in the instance that more personnel is needed.

Deputies are monitoring the roadways and are prepared to respond to emergencies and calls for service in the parish.

Prator urged citizens to use caution on icy roadways and travel only if necessary. Please visit the CPSO Facebook page for other travel and winter safety tips.

Parish of Caddo Animal Services

Caddo Parish Animal Services will have an emergency Animal Services Officer (ACO) on call for emergencies such as animal bites against humans and injured animals.

ACO will also respond to welfare checks on animals until the weather and roads prohibit them from doing so. The shelter is at full capacity now so no owner surrenders are currently being accepted.

Emergencies can be reported to Animal Services by calling (318)-226-6624.

City of Shreveport

“The city is ready for this winter weather emergency and our first responders are on standby to respond, along with other essential personnel,” said Perkins during the meeting. “We are asking citizens to stay home if they do not have to be out and take the necessary precautions to keep their families safe. The city has been partnering with Hope Connections and the Salvation Army to ensure that we are looking out for our homeless population. Teams have been doing outreach to get the homeless in to shelters.”

Fire and Police are prepared and ready to serve our citizens during the winter storm.

Public Works closed bridges on Jewella and Linwood. Crews have also been out treating roads for safety.

SporTran has suspended all bus routes beginning Feb. 14, which will remain in effect until further notice.

Water and Sewerage is on the priority list with SWEPCO to keep power on at local plants.

SWEPCO: Crews have been staged across the service area to allow for faster response if outages occur. SWEPCO has more than 1,000-line, tree, and support personnel ready to respond if needed.

For updates on traffic conditions, road closures, or other announcements, please follow the social media accounts of the Louisiana DOTD

www.facebook.com/LADOTD

Caddo Sheriff's Office

www.facebook.com/caddosheriff

City of Shreveport

www.facebook.com/mayorofShreveport

Parish of Caddo

www.facebook.com/parishofcaddo