BOSSIER CITY, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – In spite of numerous service line breaks and a dozen small-diameter water main breaks caused by last week’s winter storms, Bossier City’s water system is recovered enough to provide an emergency supply for Barksdale Air Force Base and hospitals in Shreveport, according to Mayor Lo Walker.
In a news conference Monday afternoon on the city’s response to last week’s unprecedented winter storms, Walker said the water line breaks and extreme demand on the system as customers ran faucets during freezing temperatures caused the system’s water pressure to drop down to about 30 pound-force per square inch (PSI), prompting a precautionary system-wide boil advisory.
The city responded to about 1,500 water service line breaks, increasing demand more than two and a half times, Walker said. To meet the demand, Bossier treated more than 30 million gallons of water daily to supply 80,000 people. Still, Walker said about 1,500 customers were periodically without water for up to 24 hours while the city increased water production.
“I want to emphasize, we did not turn off the water to any towns around the community, which was a incorrectly reported. We continued to supply water with the pressure so low, some couldn’t get the water and they had breaks and couldn’t get it but we didn’t turn off the water to any town.”
The system’s water pressure has been coming back up since Saturday, according to the Mayor, and was at around 60 PSI as of Monday afternoon. A normal PSI is between 30 and 80.
This has allowed the city to fill up the system’s East Reservation tanks and provide about 3 million gallons of water to the base, which normally gets its water from Shreveport. Walker said the system has the capacity to provide the emergency water without any negative impact on Bossier City water customers.
Bossier City has also been supplying water to critical medical facilities in Shreveport, which was hit harder with widespread water main breaks during the arctic blast. So far, Walker says the city has provided about 100,000 gallons of water to Shreveport hospitals.
A system-wide boil advisory issued last Tuesday remains in effect. Bossier City is working with the Louisiana Department of Health to test water samples, but the facility is in Shreveport and cannot perform the tests due to lack of water. Instead, the mayor said the water samples will be sent to Baton Rouge for analysis. The city is hoping for results as early as Wednesday. If they come back clear, the boil advisory will be discontinued
“City employees have been diligently working to keep Bossier City water on and functioning; as well as assisting Barksdale Air Force Base by supplying water to our military neighbors,” said the advisory announcing the news conference. “Bossier City Public Safety continued to provide exceptional service despite the wintery conditions.”