GREENWOOD, La. (KSLA) — Being a customer of a small water system can come with some unique challenges, not the least of which is going a week without service.
Such is the case in Greenwood, where youths Tuesday could be seen on a tractor-trailer bed tossing water bottles into the back of pickup in the wake of last week’s back-to-back winter storms.
It’s part of a big volunteer effort to help those in the town just west of Shreveport who have gone days without water.
Greenwood’s 1,700 commercial and residential water customers lost their service when a chain of events in the system left them high and dry.
Now the people who run these water systems are getting closer to finishing repairs. And it can’t come soon enough for customers, some of whom haven’t had water since Feb. 16.
Longtime Mayor Frank Stawasz recalled how their troubles began during a SWEPCO rotating, or rolling, blackout.
That led Greenwood water managers to turn on their backup generator. But it wouldn’t start.
“We called our people who maintain it. They refused to come out because of the weather. So we got another company that came out in about an hour.”
By then, Stawasz said, the water system’s chemical lines began to freeze up, followed soon after by a drop in pressure because of dozens of pipeline leaks and breaks, largely on the customers’ side of the meter.
The mayor said they eventually began to pump any water still in the system specifically to residential customers.
“Last night for the first time we were able to get up, not anywhere close to what we want for, we need about 80 psi (pounds per square inch) to operate the system. But we did get water.”
“A week. A week,” one Greenwood water customer said of the outage.
Reporter: “Has frustration kind of bubbled ... ?”
“It has bubbled. I said, ‘Oh my God. I’ll be so glad to get a bath, ‘til I won’t know what to do’,” Dianne Morris: said with a smile.
Back outside First Baptist Church in Greenwood on Tuesday, it turned out to be two ministries that joined forces to help people in this water giveaway, which included Genesis Manpower and Life, Liberty, & the Pursuit of Jesus.
The donation site gave out 900 gallons of what’s called non-potable water for flushing and hygiene.
The only catch: You had to bring your own pots, buckets or anything else that holds water.
Volunteer and donor Katie Barbee told us what brought her to Greenwood. “We were actually praying because we had heard about the situation here in Greenwood and we just decided that this is the hands and feet of Jesus,” she started.
“This is what the body of Christ is supposed to do; supposed to come together and help those that are in need.”