Suitable drinking water is something almost every household depends on. Sometimes that can be compromised when water is contaminated, causing a boil advisory to be instituted.
Boil advisories and boil orders became part of a procedure that was came about after the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) was passed in 1974 by the Environmental Protection Agency. If drinking water is, or is thought to be contaminated by pathogens , an advisory or order is given by government or health authorities.
Last year alone, Shreveport saw 17 boil advisories put in place. The main cause was due to water main breaks. The Ames Water Treatment Plant in Shreveport is an older system, being built in 1926. Older systems can tend to see more breaks in their lines, causing more advisories.
Qiana Maple, the Superintendent of the Ames Water Treatment Plant says bigger systems have more resources to solve problems quickly and more efficiently.
"We go out and we our testing after each and every line break if there is anything that interrupts the system or flow of water in any part of town," said Maple.
It's a luxury smaller and more rural systems don't have. Larry Landry, the Director of Public Utilities for the Bossier Parish Police Jury oversees the Dogwood facility in Bossier Parish. He says while many older systems have found better ways to operate, smaller systems are still behind the curve.
"Some systems operate now on something called Variable Frequency Drive (VFD) and that allows for the pump to come on slowly and build up and run at a given speed and that helps reduce breakage, but most small systems that have been around for a while don't have that," said Landry.
According to the State Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH), close to 120 boil advisories were issued throughout Caddo, Bossier, DeSoto and Webster Parishes.
District 4 Engineer Jennifer Kihlken with DHH says the drought played a major role in the large number of advisories.
"They were also having issues with the ground as it would harden, those pipes in there were moving around as that ground moves around and that cushion is no longer there so than you'd get a line break," said Kihlken.
Kihlken says that the DHH closely monitors and surveys systems that see the most breaks to see if the lines need to be replaced.
If you would like to look up any information on the water system you use, you can visit the DHH website at https://sdw.oph.dhh.la.gov/DWW/index.jsp