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Louisiana News

Southwest Ouachita Board Addresses Water Issue

Customer questions persist after an update meeting of the Southwest Ouachita Waterworks Board of Directors Monday night.  

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The meeting focused on concerns from customers over the past several months, about their water being discolored and dirty.  HenryShuler, an engineer for Southwest, detailed a long-term plan to the customers and addressing rumors, misconceptions and questions from the public. 

Shuler told the crowd of approximately 60 customers that the Ouachita Parish Police Jury has no oversight on the water system and the Public Service Commission’s oversight is only financial.  He says the regulatory agency for quality is the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals.

Amanda Laughlin, acting chief engineer for DHH, said the department pulled investigative samples earlier this month and they tested negative for primary contaminants.  

Shuler presented the customers with a long-term plan that would cost $8.8 million to switch the system over to carbon filtering.  The Public Service Commission is currently considering a rate increase proposal by the water system to help fund improvements.  

As the presentation took the majority of the allotted meeting time, some audience members accused the board of sidestepping their concerns.  A few customers said they were pleased with the discussion. One attendee said with state health officials and local legislators participating, the plan is finally being given proper attention. 

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