Broken water line pours water more than a week in Ascension Parish

Staff Report
Clean water pours from under the sidewalk at the corner of East Bayou Road and Latino Drive in Donaldsonville Jan. 16.

Fresh water leaked for several days from an apparent broken line under the sidewalk along a highway in Donaldsonville before the parish-owned water utility began repair efforts.

Water flooded into the ditch and flowed across East Bayou Road, which is Hwy. 308 in the city limits, and into a vacant lot along Bayou Lafourche for more than a week.

Though complaints were made to Parish Utilities of Ascension, which is owned by Ascension Parish government, no work appeared to be done on the leak until a crew removed part of the sidewalk and marked the area with caution tape Jan. 19.

Water from an apparent broken pipe floods a vacant lot along East Bayou Road in Donaldsonville the afternoon of Jan. 18.

A service request was made to the parish's Citizen Service Center, and property owners in the area said complaints also were made in person at the utility's office.

A parish representative reported the contractor responsible for fixing the leak was waiting for permission from "DOTTIE," which is Louisiana 811.

According to its website, Louisiana 811 allows simultaneous notification of many underground utilities operators or facilities when digging or demolition is planned.

The Louisiana Damage Prevention Law became effective in 1988. It requires excavators and demolishers to call a regional notification center at least two full business days before they begin their work.

Just before noon Jan. 19, a worker appeared to be marking lines with orange paint along the ground.

As of publication of this report at 3:25 p.m. Jan. 20, the water continued to flow from the broken pipe without any sign of activity in the area.

The morning of Jan. 23, a crew finished the repair.

Parish Utilities of Ascension was created after parish government purchased the utility from Peoples Water Service, which was formed in 1929 as an investor-owned public utility. It owned and operated water plants throughout the southeastern United States.

Note: This article was changed to update the progress of the repair work.