LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - With a pandemic, two major hurricanes, and now a historic winter storm, it’s hard to believe that Louisiana is now in its fourth federally declared disaster in a single year following last week’s winter storms.
After a week of low water pressure, Katie Harrington, the public information officer for the City of Lake Charles, says the city has been able to address the issue.
“I am happy to report that all six City of Lake Charles plants and distribution lines are all operating at 100% at this time,” Harrington said.
The city’s main concern now is ensuring the water is safe for residents.
“We’re working through the state’s water testing certification protocol right now,” she said. “Again those advisories were put in place in compliance with Louisiana Department of Health regulations, as part of the Safe Drinking Water Program.
Overseeing 1,300 water systems statewide, the Safe Drinking Water Program makes sure water is safe for residents, a process that could take a few days.
“That process does take some time. It is lab-based testing. It is a biological and scientific process, so it does take some time to get through,” she said. “As soon as we get clearance from the Department of Health we will lift that advisory.”
Harrington says the water is safe for showering, but the city recommends water be boiled for about one minute if you are planning to use it for activities like brushing your teeth, making ice, or cooking.
As we wake up to temperatures much warmer this week, she says the city is already looking ahead to see how they can better prepare for the future.
“Mayor Hunter released a video statement last night saying he was going to compile a task force to take a look at a number of sectors, not just here locally, but expanding out to different organizations to take a look at this situation and see where some lessons could be learned and what we can do to be better going forward,” she said.
While the city waits for test results, Harrington says the progress made could not have been done without the public’s help.
“With their help and the help of a number of crews--city workers, contract workers, workers from the Lafayette Utilities System, even the U.S. Postal Service--these crews were able to identify and cap off over 2,000 water leaks on private property over the last few days, which was a huge effort in restoring the system,” she said.
If there is still a leak that needs to be addressed, you can call and report it to the Department of Public Works at 337-491-1483.