Waterworks backflow rules stress customers - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Waterworks backflow rules stress customers

John Morris lives in rural Beauregard Parish and allowed his son and his family to move behind him.
Both families are hooked to the same water meter, but now Morris says Waterworks District 3 is trying to force him to install equipment to prevent backflow contamination. He says it's expensive equipment.

"We have to put in a backflow preventer, or we have to put in a second meter, which are both very expensive, six or seven hundred dollars, and I'm going to have to run about 1500 feet of water line," said Morris.

Morris thinks the water district should at least allow them six months to comply with changes that involve so much money.

"This is very expensive. To take only 90 days to do it is unreasonable. Give people time to do it. And when I called the other day to ask them, 'On the 91st day, are you going to go turn our water off?' And they wouldn't tell me. They wouldn't say what they are going to do," said Morris.

Waterworks 3 officials say the state health department only recently began cracking down on enforcement of the law, which went on the books around the year 2000.

Jeremy Joffrion is the assistant superintendent of distribution. "People are mad, and I understand it, but it's something that's coming down. It's not from us. It's coming from the Department of Health and Hospitals," he said.

While the district could shut off water systems that don't comply, he says they are trying to work with people.

"If you know of somebody that's having a hard time, that cannot physically do it, or financially do it, tell them to come in, talk to us, we'll try to do what we can do to work with them and help them get compliant," said Joffrion.

The enforcement program also affects many businesses and is aimed at protecting the public water supply.  

Joffrion says other local governments, such as Calcasieu Parish, are also working to enforce the state rules. For more of his comments look for our web extra.

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