Tallulah experiencing ‘catastrophic water outage’ in wake of winter weather

Published 1:30 pm Friday, January 19, 2024

Residents in Tallulah, La. are experiencing what city officials say is a “catastrophic water outage” caused by this week’s winter weather and resulting in the city planning to completely turn off the water supply Friday afternoon in an effort to allow water tanks to refill.

“We have over 50 leaks all around the town which is causing us not to be able to refill our ground storage tank and our elevated tank,” Tallulah Mayor Charles Finlayson said. “We have made the decision to cut off all water at 2:00 p.m. today to try and get these tanks filled up. I know this is a major inconvenience for our citizens, but we have to take this extreme measure to try and get us back online.”

Officials said the water will remain turned off until “at least midnight,” adding residents should be aware a boil water advisory will be in effect upon reconnection of water services

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All residents should boil water before consumption and use, which includes cooking, bathing, making ice, brushing teeth, allowing pet consumption, or rinsing food, officials said, adding water should be boiled for at least one full minute in a clean container. The one full minute, they said, begins once water has come to a “rolling boil.” Officials also advised that the flat taste of the water can be eliminated by shaking the water in a clean bottle or by pouring it from one clean container into another.

In addition to precautions citizens can take themselves, City of Tallulah Spokesperson Yvonne Lewis said a water tanker provided by the State of Louisiana will be on hand at the Tallulah-Madison Community Center for the next three days to allow citizens to fill up containers of clean water. Lewis said bottled water is also being brought in courtesy of the Foodbank of Northeast Louisiana in Monroe, as well as the Madison Parish Office of Homeland Security Emergency Preparedness. The Free bottled water will also be available to residents at the community center, located at 800 Beech Street in Tallulah.

This week’s water leaks and planned outage is the latest in a long series of problems City of Tallulah officials have been attempting to combat with work to its aging water plant.

The city currently has plans to perform a $7.8 million rehabilitation project on the plant after securing a $4 million loan from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to go along with a $3.8 million grant. 

The city is currently in the process of working toward accepting bids for the project after an initial bid in December came in at $5 million over budget.