Garyville water quickly restored after old line breaks

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 2, 2008


Editor and Publisher

GARYVILLE – Residents in the western end of St. John Parish had their Sunday disrupted early in the day when they began to notice a drop in water pressure.

By noon, it was even worse when the water completely stopped flowing from the faucets.

The problem, as St. John workers eventually found out, was one of their very old water lines that had been underground for nearly 60 years.

Workers had to do some fancy hustling around to even figure out where the break in the water line occurred, but finally located it next to a railroad track a quarter-mile east of Highway 54—literally in the woods.

St. John Director of Public Utilities Ralph Bean had to call in some workers for some unexpected Sunday work, but after putting in over five hours digging down to the break and repairing it, residents were thrilled to have their water back on before 6 p.m.

Manager Dale Waguespack used his 29 years of experience on the job to help find the leak in a fairly quick period of time. Without his expertise, it might have been hours just trying to figure out where the break occurred, since it was well-hidden down the tracks, far off the main highway.

Even as the water seeped up out of the ground, it drained right to a drainage canal next to the break, making it impossible to see the water leak from any main road.

“We couldn’t have gotten this done so fast if our guys hadn’t found this leak as quickly as they did,” Bean said. “When this kind of thing happens, you can get a general idea of where the leak is by seeing where water pressure is down, but then you literally have to ride the streets, and even walk down the tracks to find it.”

The problem turned out to be the collar for the 12 inch line, which snapped in half from simple aging, since it was one that had been buried “since the 50s” Waguespack said.

The team of Waguespack, Ronald Nicholas, Dwayne Mason, Warren Lennix and Roy Gray put things back together before nightfall, and residents didn’t have to worry about going to work on Monday without their shower.

Bean said they began to notice a loss of power in the morning, then finally located the break by noon before the repairs began.

“The guys did a great job getting this thing fixed as quickly as they did,” Bean added.