CALCASIEU PARISH, LA (KPLC) - The issue began when inspectors gave a local resident, Jude Francis, a red tag indicating he needed a new aerator for his septic tank system. But Francis is wondering why he's being asked to pay double for the same part he found online.
"Well, the reason it failed was that the aerating pump was not working, although the inspection did indicate that the sludge was OK and the system was alright," said Francis.
But Francis was told by Calcasieu Parish officials he could only buy that part from manufacturer Murphy Cormier.
"I think it's a concern because it restricts you to a company that's got a monopoly on their product forcing you to buy from them, which means they can inflate the price to whatever they want," Francis said.
Francis said the price for the same pump at Murphy Cormier can be found online for half the price, which made a big difference for him.
Wes Crain, Director of Planning and Development for the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury, said there's not much they can do about that because it's state law.
"Whatever particular system they have, state law requires that they use the same parts that were originally designed for that particular system and purchase those parts and use those parts in fixing their system," he said.
Crain said his office has received similar complaints, however, if inspectors can identify it's the manufactured part, and working, they'll give the approval.
But Francis said he's still left in a bind and has to decide if he should buy the part online for half price and risk inspectors failing him because he didn't buy it directly from the manufacturer. Or, he wonders if he should give in and pay the thousand dollars.
Murphy Cormier is the manufacturer of the Hoot septic tank part Francis needs, but they're on backorder. That presents another problem. The timeline to fix your system once you receive a letter regarding your inspection is 15 days.