By Jody Stewart
A major water leak occurred last Wednesday inside the old Kardoes Rubber plant which flooded the building and created loss of water to the city. The water break is believed to have occurred around 3 am Wednesday morning. The location of the leak was found by city employees around 8:30 am. The city reported a total water loss of 724,904 gallons of water.
LaFayette Mayor Kenneth Vines said, “Thanks to proper planning and diligent work by the city crew I believe we got the problem under control in a timely manner. The water break was in a very difficult area of the city to find. After the leak was found and stopped, city employees worked all hands-on deck to check the water quality across town to ensure water quality for the citizens. In the meantime, the city purchased 132,000 gallons of water from Huguley, which the city sometimes does when it has water issues.”
Last Wednesday morning many LaFayette residents woke up with water problems which was caused by the city water system which lost pressure due to the Kardoes leak. Mayor Kenneth Vines stated that some residents experienced very low pressure while others were completely without water.
Lafayette Mayor Vines “My brother woke me up at 4 am and told me there was no water. I had no water at my home either.”
The City of LaFayette told its residents last Wednesday that they should bring their tap water to a rolling boil for at least three minutes or use bottled water for “drinking, making ice, washing dishes, brushing teeth, and preparing food until further notice last week after a water main break caused a water outage to the city.
The loss of water had a major impact on the day-to-day business around LaFayette. Chambers County School District announced that school would be virtual for LaFayette High School, JP Powell Middle School, Eastside Elementary and Inspire Academy. Chambers Academy closed Wednesday. Several restaurants were closed for multiple days due to the water boil notice. Also affected was the Chambers County Court House, Probate Judge Paul Story announced the Courthouse was closed Wednesday due to the issue.
Vines said, “I want to thank the citizens for being so understanding during the whole ordeal.”
Vines explained that the water boil notice was precautionary to give them time to check the water for dangerous bacteria. Once the test results showed no dangerous bacteria the citizens were notified that they could drink and use tap water as usual.
The notice released by the city explained how the loss of pressure and water in the distribution systems exposes the whole system to harmful bacteria. The loss of water and pressure which may cause back pressure, back siphonage, or net movement of water from outside the pipe to the inside through cracks, breaks, or joints in the distribution system that are common in all water systems. Such a system failure carries with it a potential that fecal contamination or other disease-causing organisms could enter the distribution system. These conditions may pose an imminent and substantial health endangerment to persons served by the system. These organisms include bacteria, viruses, and parasites which can cause [symptoms] such as diarrhea, cramps, nausea, headaches, or other [symptoms].”