STOCK boil water advisory

Advocate file photo of boiling water

GONZALES — Some 5,000 residences and businesses and at least six schools remain under a boil water advisory after a problem with Entergy's delivery of electricity to water pumps in the city of Gonzales on Tuesday morning led to a temporary drop in water pressure.

Alhtough the water pressure was later restored, the boil advisory remains in effect until a water sample is tested by the state Department of Health on Wednesday.

The Ascension Parish school district on Tuesday advised parents that the boil advisory affected G.W. Carver Primary, Gonzales Primary, Pecan Grove Primary, Gonzales Middle, East Ascension High School and Early College Option at River Parishes Community College. 

Central Primary and Central Middle schools in Gonzales are under a different water system.

Until the boil advisory is lifted, the school system will be delivering bottled water and hand sanitizer to the affected schools and making adjustments to meal menus.

The cause of the problem was a type of "electrical service failure" at the pumps, City Engineer Jackie Baumann said. 

Entergy workers were able to fix the problem, she said.

The city has a main pump and two additional pumps that typically work on a rotating basis. After the main pump stopped working, city workers found that the generator there wasn't working either, Baumann said.

A generator at another of the pumps gave the signal that it was on and working but was found to not be delivering power to the pump.

Baumann said she believes it's the first time such a situation has happened in Gonzales, a city of 10,000 on the east bank of Ascension Parish. 

"Without the pumps running, the (water) towers just drained" and pressure got low throughout the city, Baumann said. 

A water sample was sent at about 11 a.m. Tuesday to the state Department of Health in Baton Rouge, which must wait 24 hours before testing it, according to department policy.

A number of Gonzales restaurants were unable to serve drinks or closed down during the advisory period.  

A message left with Entergy officials had not been returned by late afternoon Tuesday.

"I really appreciate the patience of our citizens and their understanding," Mayor Barney Arceneaux said. 

Email Ellyn Couvillion at ecouvillion@theadvocate.com.