Federal lawsuit filed against Beauregard Waterworks District 3 - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Lawsuit filed against Beauregard Waterworks District 3

RAGLEY, LA (KPLC) -

Longtime environmentalist Mike Tritico and RESTORE, a local environmental group, have filed suit in federal court against the Beauregard Waterworks District 3, which serves customers in the eastern and southern parts of the parish.

The suit has to do with water quality concerns and seeks to enforce the Safe Drinking Water Act.

Tritico said there are 19,000 consumers who receive water from the district.

Tritico lives in rural Beauregard Parish and for years he has raised concerns about the water he gets from Waterworks District 3. He is especially concerned about sodium levels in the water and worries that people don't' realize what they are getting.

"We have sodium in the water that is as much as six times higher than the maximum recommended by the American Heart Association. And that's a worry for people like me with high blood pressure. It can lead to strokes if you get too much sodium," said Tritico.

Tritico said he has received little if any cooperation from the Water Board and has therefore gone to federal court to try to use the safe drinking water act to bring about improvements when it comes to water quality and monitoring.

"To find 21 engineering deficiencies in January, after all these years of people raising questions, is just an indication that, for a long time, they didn't take these questions seriously," said Tritico.

Water District General Manager Ray Hauser said the sodium in the water is within required limits.

"I do know that we're substantially below the EPA suggested limit and guidelines of where we should be," said Hauser.

Though Hauser admits a health inspector noted deficiencies in January. He said they are technical in nature and don't effect water quality. 

"Most of those is little plastic, PVC drain lines on the well that are of no consequences whatsoever to water quality," said Hauser.

The case is being handled for RESTORE by the Tulane Environmental Law Clinic. At last word, no court date was set.

The water board hired a New Orleans law firm to handle the case for their side. Hauser said that's because they needed attorneys specializing in laws related to drinking water.

Hauser said anyone worried about salt in the drinking water can get a copy of test results to show their doctor.

Copyright 2013 KPLC. All rights reserved.

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