Customers of Waterworks District 3 who have another resident living on their property but are only using one meter have two options: they must purchase another meter or install a device that prevents pollution in the general water system. (Special to the American Press)
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 15, 2014 11:10 AM
DERIDDER — A crowd of angry residents filled the Beauregard Parish Police Jury chambers Tuesday to discuss a recently implemented state Department of Health and Hospitals policy.
The policy requires individuals who have more than one building on their property to buy a water meter or a device that prevents contamination and requires an annual inspection.
“I built on my property, two years ago,” said Ragley resident Terry Kirl. “And I paid every permit that Beauregard Parish asked me to. At that point, if this has been in effect, they should have said something.”
Kirl, a customer of Beauregard Parish Waterworks District 3, said he had 15 days to buy either a backflow prevention device or a second meter for his mother’s trailer, which has stood for two years, or face penalty. The water district, the first to enforce the policy in the parish, said it could turn water service off for those who do not comply.
The backflow prevention device, which helps to prevent contamination of the water system, must be installed by a master plumber with specific certifications, and the device must be inspected yearly, according to a waterworks district official. The inspection costs $120 to $240.
If customers fail to comply, the district has the right to terminate water service.
DHH spokesman Ken Pastorick told the American Press on Jan. 3 that the state conducts surveys of both residential and commercial water systems. In January 2013, he said, DHH cited the waterworks district for cross-connection violations.
Police Juror Llewellyn Smith grilled DHH engineer Steven Joubert regarding the policy. He said Beauregard Parish seemed to be targeted and that other water districts he called hadn’t reported the same treatment.
“No other water district is saying they’re having to put up with this,” Smith said.
“There are systems that have demonstrated our level of compliance,” Joubert said.
Pastorick said the regulation helps to prevent contamination if significant stress is put on the water system. He said contaminants can be drawn into the potable water system through unsafe connections, contaminating water in both the private and the public water systems.