Heavy rain that drenched Baton Rouge over the weekend after a long dry spell also caused at least two water mains to break, according to Baton Rouge Water Co.
A water main broke in the early hours of Tuesday morning on Bluebonnet Boulevard between Burbank Drive and Nicholson Drive. The leak came one day after a water main broke at Glen Oaks High School and forced the waterless school to close for the day.
Hays Owen, senior vice president and chief administrative officer for the Baton Rouge Water Co., said it’s common for water mains to break after extended periods of drought and downpours. But he said the problem is environmental, not caused by faulty infrastructure.
“It’s not that the line has failed; it’s simply conditions of the earth changing,” Owen said.
He added that the problem can be particularly bad in the southern part of Baton Rouge, where flooding is more common.
“That area, that mud and that dirt — it’s real gumbo-ish, real thick,” Owen said about the area where the Bluebonnet main broke. “Especially with all the rain, you’re going to have some shift in the dirt. So any time you experience lengthy periods of dryness that we had, you’re going to have some leaks”
Owen said the people working in Baton Rouge Water Co.’s control room noticed a drop in pressure in the Bluebonnet water main around 3:45 a.m. Tuesday. They quickly sent out crews to repair it, and he said they repaired the leak and restored full water pressure by 8 a.m.
Several local businesses in the area — including the South Burbank Storage Center, the South Baton Rouge Charter Academy and La Carreta on Bluebonnet — said they were not affected by the break and that they did not lose water. A cashier at Here Today Gone Tomorrow Thrift Store said they briefly lost water.
On Monday morning, buses drove students home from Glen Oaks High School about an hour after they had arrived for the school day. Workers fixed the water main by early afternoon, and classes resumed on Tuesday.