MADISONVILLE- Eight neighborhoods are under a boil water advisory after an outage during Thursday night's storm left customers with little to no water pressure.
Frustrated residents say the fact that similar issues keep happening to them is unacceptable.
The State Department of Health says the Guste Island Water System, run by H2O Systems, Inc, has reported six boil water notices so far this year. The system had no violations in 2016-2017, and there have been no official complaints to LDH, for the agency to investigate, about the water system yet this year. While the agency says that doesn't necessarily raise red flags for them, because of the various reasons that lead to boil water notices, residents say it should.
Friday morning did not go well in the McCutcheon household of five because the faucets didn't run properly when the family tried to use them.
"You're trying to get everybody up and pottied, bath and everything like that. Do dishes and clean baby bottles and stuff like that and without water pressure it makes it more difficult," said Montgomery Terrace resident Jacob McCutheon.
Even worse, McCutcheon didn't learn the water he did have was possibly contaminated until hours later when a boil water notice was left on his door by water company H2O Systems, Inc.
"If the water's not going to be potable, that's something that they need to notify their customers about almost immediately," he said.
His neighborhood is one of eight in the Madisonville area affected. But it's one of many saying they're tired of being affected so frequently by the company's water issues.
"There's always a problem," said Pine Creek resident Nicole Daniels, "H2O is always across the street. The buzzer on that thing is always going off. We get notices about boiled water, every, gosh, I would say at least once or twice a month."
The complaints range from low to no water pressure caused by power outages at wells and/or lift stations, to discolored water, and even water with dirt and sediment in it. Residents say the issues seem to follow any heavy rain event.
H2O's Operations Manager Danette Jenkins said in a statement:
"We apologize to all customers of Guste Island Water System for the loss of water pressure this morning that caused the issuance of the Boil Advisory. To the best of our knowledge, we believe that the transformer providing power to the well was damaged during a morning storm. The loss of power caused a hammering effect on the piping from the well to the distribution system which resulted in a major leak at the well site and loss of pressure to the entire system.
Entergy responded very quickly to the situation and completed installation of a new transformer this afternoon. Our crews are continuing to work diligently to repair the leaking pipe. In the meantime, we have connected the distribution system to our backup emergency source and have restored water pressure to the area. After issuance of a Boil Advisory, systems are required to submit water samples to the state lab for analysis. We will deliver the required samples to the lab first thing tomorrow morning as we could not complete the repair in time for today's deadline.
We cannot release the Boil Advisory until we are given permission by state authorities. As soon as the release is authorized, even if it is tomorrow or Sunday, we will notify our customers via our automated phone system and our Facebook page as well as door hangers on each home.
In regards to any other issues, we would like to state that the Guste Island Water System meets all state and federal regulations for safe drinking water and we work diligently to reduce all interruptions such as today's instance. Unfortunately, it is not possible to prevent unavoidable damages to the system and/or predict unknown problems. We strive to respond to all complaints from our customers, whether it is on interruptions of service or aesthetic properties of the water."
The customers say they deserve better.
"I think it needs to change for sure," said Daniels.
The state Health Department says if any residents have operational or quality issues with their water service, and you're dissatisfied with the company's response, a complaint can be filed with your nearest regional health department office. Those locations and contact details can be found at http://ldh.louisiana.gov/index.cfm/page/394