With the Arctic Blast and Christmas holiday looming, employees of the City of Bossier City Public Utilities, City administration, and its partner Manchac Consulting Group worked tirelessly to prepare for numerous types of worst-case scenarios, with the ultimate goal of maintaining water service to customers.
“Multiple employees sacrificed time away from their families at Christmas as they worked day and night to keep water flowing,” said Mayor Tommy Chandler. “I am incredibly proud of our entire team and cannot thank them enough for their dedication this week. I’d also like to thank our Bossier City citizens and other bulk water customers for their patience and understanding.”
Employees worked quickly beginning early in the week leading up to the extreme cold, implementing protocol developed from past weather events, coordinating schedules for round-the-clock staffing, and issuing of timely public messaging via press releases and new social media platforms (Facebook, Instagram and Twitter).
“It’s our job to support and serve this community and I’m proud of the efforts and plan execution on all fronts,” said Ben Rauschenbach, Senior Project Manager with Manchac Consulting Group. “Operating proactively was key to successfully tackling this weather event.”
The Bossier City Fire Department recorded more than 80 emergency water turn offs (ETOs), along with another nearly 200 emergency turn offs conducted by Public Utilities.
Proactively, employees conducted an additional approximately 100 ETOs as a courtesy to customers based on data compiled from the billing software to detect high water usage that likely indicated a leak. This involved placing calls to individuals to alert those customers of the potential issue.
Operations at the City’s Water Treatment Plant produced 30 million gallons per day, compared with an average of 12 million per day. This exceeded even the hottest summer day and the historic snow & ice storm in February 2021. This significant increase in production was necessary to keep all water tanks filling at a rate that could meet the additional demand on the system as a result of residential and commercial water line breaks and dripping of faucets.
Continuous monitoring operations were in place throughout the weather event, both by field crews and via analytical computer software that afforded the ability to take a more aggressive approach in supporting customers and identifying water leaks. This helped significantly reduce the potential for water damage to private property.
A small water main break near Holiday Place was the only area of Bossier City that was placed under a boil advisory. That break was repaired in a few hours, with water service restored quickly to those affected homes.
The City also worked to ensure water service was provided to area hospitals that would’ve been without water otherwise.
“We’ll take the lessons we have learned through this weather event and continue to improve our plan,” added Mayor Chandler. “Our goal is always to provide the best service possible to our customers. We will continue to prioritize the health and safety of our residents by working to keep the water flowing during weather emergencies.”