State unsure of water status in Nicholson

Published 7:00 am Thursday, October 22, 2015

Residents in the Nicholson area are concerned after another round of boil water notices.

The notices started Oct. 7, when the state Department of Health issued a statement warning residents of the area their drinking water was contaminated with E. Coli. 

The state will not approve water as safe unless the water passes tests for two days. In the interim, the state recommended boiling water for one minute before drinking it. 

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Finally, on Oct. 17, the health department declared the water safe to drink. 

But on Tuesday, Nicholson resident Betsy White said she saw boil water signs pop up again throughout the community. 

“They came down Monday morning,” White said. “When I went out (Tuesday) they were up again. I knew with the water going off we were going back on a boil water advisory.”

She explained her home went dry Tuesday and she knew something was wrong. 

Holly, who declined to give her last name but answered the phone at the water association’s office, said the Nicholson water system did lose pressure on Tuesday. She said a loose valve was the culprit. 

State policy mandates that a pressure loss should result in an automatic boil water notice. Before the notice is taken down, the water authority must show two days of safe water.

However, as of Wednesday afternoon, the Department of Health lists Nicholson’s water as safe to drink. 

“Released on Oct. 17, 2015. Water from this system is now safe to drink,” the website states. 

Tammie Yates, a spokesperson with the Department of Health, said she did not know why the Nicholson Water and Sewer Association would issue a boil water notice on Tuesday. She also could not explain why the state was apparently unaware of the most recent notice. 

Yates said she would look into the matter, but as of press time, had not provided any information. 

Holly said she hopes the state will approve the water as safe to drink by Friday.

In the meantime, White said she is tired of boiling water. 

“Even boiling it, how do I know that’s still good? I have to shower, I have to brush my teeth I have to wash my face,” she said. 

White said she doesn’t understand the weeks of delay. 

“How can new Orleans, which is a major city, can get it up, and running but Nicholson takes weeks,” she said.

Holly said the water association has had several problems. 

“We had two water leaks the week before,” she said. “One we fixed, and then as we fixed that one, a boring company bored through 300 feet of our line. That was straightened out last weekend and then on Tuesday we had to start a new one because of the valve.”

Holly said Nicholson residents should continue to boil their water for one minute before drinking it until further notice.