BOSSIER PARISH, La. (KSLA) — It’s now official.
Bossier’s Sligo Water System, despite struggling to keep up with demand this summer, has severed its relationship with its backup source of water.
That backup is Bossier City’s water system.
Bossier City was scheduled to shut off that connection sometime Wednesday.
Instead, Sligo Water System officials took action first, closing off that connection at 8:30 a.m.
Sligo Water operator Andy Freeman explained why he planned to act first.
"I'm not gonna hang around here all day and wait on them to decide to turn that valve. I'll just go ahead and do it. I mean, what's another 24 hours, you know?"
This week, Bossier City released a copy of a letter dated July 31 from Bossier City Mayor Lorenz “Lo” Walker to Cheryl McIntyre, president of the Sligo Water System Board of Commissioners.
And it is that letter that spelled out several factors for why the city ended that agreement.
First, the systems use different chemicals to disinfect the water.
The letter first explained, "When the free chlorine from Sligo's system mixes with the chloramines from Bossier's system, free chlorine levels diminish.
The letter also pointed out the different pressure plans between Sligo's ground water system and Bossier's surface water system, create cross-contamination concerns.
But Freeman told us Bossier City had sent them a potential new agreement to look over that also included a third stipulation.
“It’s got some parts in there that we’re not willing to, that’s not gonna happen. It’s basically saying that they, Bossier City, has the right to come inspect our facility. It’s not gonna happen.”
Bossier City’s water only flowed to separate water lines in Sligo Water System, with the other water lines handled by Sligo, Freeman stated.
"Their water is not mixing with ours. Other than, like say the plant's here, the line goes to here and we isolate it right here. We turn a valve off."
So Freeman contends that any risk of cross-contamination isn’t even possible — with one exception.
“Other than that first point, and that’s why we’re there flushing everything out.”
The big question now becomes what this means for Sligo Water System’s 900 customers.
It won’s affect them, at least for the first week or so, officials said.
Then emergency measures could go into effect if water levels fall too low.
Sligo Water customer Michael Farris worries about one of those potential emergency measures.
It involves shutting off the water from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. each day.
“We can’t bathe our kids, we can’t flush our toilet. We can’t make ice in our machines.”
Freeman noted that there are immediate consequences when a water system is turned off every night.
“We’ll be under a constant boil order until it’s, until we start maintaining it, 'til we start keeping up.”
Now, Sligo Water is on its own.
And that mandatory flushing, which removes all the Bossier City water from the system, cut Sligo Water’s current level in half.
Any long-term solution to increase Sligo Water’s supply would require digging new wells.
Freeman said they’ve had that idea for years.
So far, no one who owns property close enough to the area will lease land to the water system for new wells.
But system officials say they’re not giving up.