Backlash at Beauregard meeting over water policy

By By Lauren Manary / American Press

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.