LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - In a news conference Friday morning, Lake Charles Mayor Nic Hunter explained the city is among 13 million Texans and Louisianians currently dealing with severe water system challenges.
Mayor Hunter says that within the past 12 months, Lake Charles has been a part of four federally declared disasters - this freeze being the fourth.
“It signifies how serious and how intense this event has been for the City of Lake Charles. To have a federally declared disaster is a major thing. That’s not something that is a flippant, everyday occurrence. To have four, within a course of 12 months? I don’t know if you researched every city in America if you could find one city that has had four federally declared disasters within the course of 12 months.”
With improvements being made daily, he urged residents to do their part, whether it’s cutting off water completely or calling and reporting leaks.
“Please turn off those dripping faucets, call in leaks. Landlords go check on your properties. Please, we’ve got to get those thousands of leaks under control throughout the City of Lake Charles on those private properties and those private lines.”
Kevin Heise, Utilities Manager for the City of Lake Charles says the city’s wastewater plants receiving double their normal amount is evident that homes in Lake Charles still haven’t heeded the city’s request in cutting off faucets. He explains, even with freezing temperatures Friday night, residents can still cut off the water without risking their pipes freezing and bursting.
“If you have the opportunity, you have the ability, go out and turn the water connection off to the home or to the structure and drain the water through a faucet, drain it through a spigot outside. That way there’s no water in the pipes and there’s no chance of freezing. Instead of running your pipe, this is an alternative.”
Mayor Hunter says they have deployed crews to cut off water meters at uninhabited and under construction homes that are straining the system.
“Water employees, employees from other departments, contract employees, and Lafayette Utility Systems employees are scouring the city right now turning off water meters at any structure that has a leak. And at this point, any vacant structure.”
With improvements being made to the water pressure daily, he explains they can finally provide a timeline to when water pressure will return if the trend continues.
“If we can continue to cut off the water meters, at those locations, where we have employees throughout the city, scouring the city doing that right now. If we can continue to have the public’s support, conserve water, we believe in the next 72 hours we should have sufficient water pressure throughout the majority of the City of Lake Charles.”
You can call (337)-491-1483, (337)-491-1414, and (337)-491-1346 to report leaks.