Wastewater meeting Tuesday afternoon - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Wastewater meeting Tuesday afternoon

By Theresa Schmidt - bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) -It's an all too common problem outside the cities in Calcasieu Parish. Sewage in ditches. It smells bad and can cause health problems. Many home systems don't work properly. It's one of the reason Shannon Spell of Moss Bluff ran for police jury. "I think the issue of wastewater infrastructure in Calcasieu Parish is still the most important challenge that we face because it's not only, one an environmental issue. It's an issue of public health and welfare and it's also an issue of economic development. We need to have infrastructure in place that encourages development and economic prosperity."

 But spell admits progress has been slow because it's a complicated and expensive problem to address. "The cost of a parishwide system in unincorporated areas is estimated in excess of $400 million. You have to pay for that somehow."

 Spell would have rather seen a sales tax earmarked for sewerage over garbage pickup in rural areas, but voters have spoken. "Eventually the police jury will have to address collection, transportation and treatment of sewage and there will be different solutions for different areas depending on population density. Not only do you want to install infrastructure in the urban areas, but you also need an inspection program just to kind of keep an eye out and make sure the systems that are being used, the individual systems that are being used by properly owners, are in working order."

 When sewage gets out it eventually runs into the streams, bayous and lakes where people fish and swim.

The Calcasieu Police Jury Wastewater study committee was to meet at 4 p.m. Tuesday to discuss the issues. They're going to get a report from their staff on a proposed plan for inspecting household mechanical sewer systems-- and other issues related to getting sewage out of the ditches.

Copyright 2010 KPLC. All rights reserved.

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