Sewerage inspections may soon get go-ahead

The Calcasieu Police Jury Wastewater Committee recommends the police jury go forward with a program to inspect home sewerage systems. And some want to get started as soon as possible because the clock is already ticking on a three year grant to fund the program.

A program to inspect home sewerage systems has been a decade in the making.  The systems at issue don't work and pollute the environment. The Calcasieu Assistant Director of Development Wes Crain says the three main things inspectors will look at are electrical hookup; blower motor, to see that it's working; and whether the tank needs to be pumped out.

Crain told jurors, "Making sure that excess sludge and solids have not built up in the tank, the inspector will measure the sludge depth to determine if a sewer system needs to be pumped out."

And Special Programs Coordinator Jason Barnes says they will communicate with residents affected throughout the process and work with those who have financial difficulties.  "When we get to a new area where residents are about to be inspected, probably about a month out, all of the residents there about to be impacted will receive a yellow post card in the mail It basically lets them know we are about to start inspecting their area."

As one police juror put it, the devil's in the details and the debate will likely continue on many issues. Concerned citizen,  Charlie Atherton, told committee members, "I am for the proper handling of sewage. I'm for that. But you don't have the legislative authority to do what you're doing."

Hoot Systems Troy Cormier says the grant the parish has now offers a chance to clean up polluting systems.  "I sit in the audience and I hear, 'Well, it's not our job to find out if they have a maintenance contract even though it's the law.'"

Wastewater chairman Francis Andrepont says it's time to move forward. "It's something that has to be done from health issues, the clean air, clean water act, dictates this. We don't have a choice."

The police jury is already several months into a three year grant that will fund inspections on 33,000 systems.

The full Calcasieu Police Jury decides on the Wastewater Committee's recommendation at the regular meeting at 5:30 Thursday night.

If approved officials expect immediate steps to get the inspection program started as quickly as possible.

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