YCI_Yuhuang_Vacherie_water_plant.091020.jpg (copy)

St. James Parish government’s Vacherie water plant, as seen Thursday, Sept. 10, 2020.

The water consumption in St. James Parish has exceeded the capacity of the water system, causing officials to announce likely outages Tuesday afternoon. 

Parish-wide outages are expected to begin Tuesday at 2 p.m. and last for 6 to 8 hours, according to a news release from the Parish. The outages will only impact parish water lines — not the towns of Lutcher or Gramercy, a spokesperson said.

As record-low temperatures sweep through the region, many residents are leaving their faucets dripping in order to prevent their pipes from freezing. The parish water system is sending out 1,900 gallons per minute for consumption, exceeding its intake of 1,700 gallons per minute for treatment, officials said. 

"At its current consumption, the water system is unable to treat water as fast as it is being consumed by residents," the news release read.

Water pressure has already been decreased in the parish in order to reduce consumption, but water systems on the east and west banks of the Mississippi River are not capable of maintaining the rate of consumption for an extended period of time, officials said.

Water outages will require a parish-wide boil advisory until the water system has returned to capacity and the water has been tested, officials said. 

Residents are advised to stop their faucets from dripping, to not run their dishwasher or washing machine and to not fill up bathtubs for water, according to the release.

"Temperatures overnight in St. James Parish are expected to remain above 28 degrees, minimizing the need for dripping water," the release read.

Water outages because of overwhelmed systems during extreme cold have happened before.

A 2018 cold snap forced Donaldsonville in Ascension Parish into an hours long outage when high demand from broken lines and dripping faucets overloaded the parish's system.