LA VERGNE, Tenn. -- The arctic-like temperatures of the last week have caused a huge jump in water consumption in La Vergne, putting an enormous demand on reserve supplies, officials said Thursday.
Now that temperatures are above freezing, the city is asking people to turn off their faucets.
“The demand has been huge on the treatment plant,” said Thomas Champagne, chief operator of the La Vergne Water Treatment Plant. “If only 60 percent of metered customers have faucets running, even a slow trickle, that equates to a huge flow at least the size of an unchecked main water line break. The system needs time to regenerate and rebuild.”
Normal levels of the water storage tanks in the city are steady at about 80 percent, officials said.
“As of Thursday morning, the Sanford Knob tank was at 65 percent and the Sanders tank was at 35 percent,” said Kathy Tyson, public information officer for the city of La Vergne.
Officials with the La Vergne Fire Department are also keeping a close eye on the water supply, she said.
La Vergne Fire Chief Rick McCormick said firefighters have to have 500 gallons per minute from hydrants to be usable by the fire department.
“At this time, they are at 600 to 700 gallons per minute, so we do have adequate water pressure for fighting fires,” McCormick said.
The city of La Vergne has alerted the city of Nashville and town of Smyrna for tanker service in the event levels drop further.
Tyson said city workers are checking and repairing leaks in the distribution system, but residents are being asked to also check the water meter on the outside of their house for leaks. If there is a leak, residents should notify the La Vergne Public Works Department at 615-793-9891.
People should also reduce their consumption of water wherever possible while the storage tanks rebuild the supply, especially given how the situation is affecting the La Vergne Fire Department.
Officials also noted that during the frigid temperatures, the demand on the electric system caused power fluctuations, resulting in the Water Treatment Plant switching to auxiliary power to keep the water supply steady.
The plant went back to the Nashville Electric Service power supply at 2 p.m. on Wednesday, Tyson said.
-- Marie Kemph, firstname.lastname@example.org