TICKFAW — A burned-out motor caused a well that supplies the village of Tickfaw to fail early Thursday, possibly allowing contaminants to seep into the village’s water supply, officials said.
The state Department of Health and Hospitals issued a boil advisory Thursday morning after being notified of the well’s failure, said Ronny Carter, the village’s water systems manager.
The well likely failed between midnight and 3 a.m., Carter said.
The shutdown was discovered by workers who went to perform maintenance on the well around 5 a.m., said Mayor Anthony Lamonte.
Pressure in the well had sunk to nil by 5 am., said Lamonte.
Lamonte activated a backup pump, and by about 2:30 p.m. Thursday, it had restored approximately one-third of normal service, Carter said.
To begin correcting the problem Thursday, maintenance personnel removed 150 feet of pipe down to the broken motor, which was removed and will be replaced.
While crews worked on the well, a “a few hundred gallons a minute” spilled out the top, Carter said.
The well mechanism had failed a test Wednesday, Carter said.
After the failed test, the Village Council declared a state of emergency to prepare for an eventual failure, Carter said.
Contaminants could have back-flowed into the system before the backup pump was activated when pressure through the well was at its lowest, Carter said.
The village government ordered a submersible pump as a temporary fix, he said.
Village officials hoped to have the replacement pump installed by Thursday night or early Friday morning, Carter said.
Using the submersible pump, normal water service could be restored as early as Friday morning, he said.
The boil advisory would remain in effect, however, until water from the new pump can be tested to verify that it is free of contaminants, Carter said.
After the well went out, the village government made bottled water available to residents, according to a press release from Mayor Anthony Lamonte.
The village received two pallets of water from the Tangipahoa Parish Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, Lamonte said.
By 4 p.m. Thursday, about 70 people had come in for free cases of water, Lamonte said.
Village officials also offered to deliver water to any senior citizens who were unable to come pick it up, the release said.
Tickfaw residents were invited to get water from one of the village’s firetrucks to enable them to flush toilets, Lamonte said in the release.
Lamonte said that he had ordered a new permanent pump that he expected would arrive by early next week.
The well serves about 850 people, Carter said.