Some in Beauregard may be forced to buy new water meters

By By Lauren Manary / American Press

Some Beauregard Parish residents may soon be forced to spend hundreds of dollars in order to be in compliance with their local

water district.

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. The district, which serves the

southeastern part of the parish, recently sent letters to customers,

stating they had 90 days to comply.

Ragley resident John Morris said both options are simply unreasonable.

“I could understand if they gave us six months or nine months,” he said. “But three is just unreasonable.”

According to Jeremy Joffrion, the

assistant field superintendent for the waterworks district, the body has

identified some

304 customers that would be affected by the policy. Many of those

affected were people who had family members or friends move

a trailer onto the property, but still used one meter for the

water. He said the Department of Health and Hospitals has asked

that the district begin enforcing the policy.

“What I’ve been telling everybody is ‘don’t shoot the messenger’,” said Joffrion. “Because that’s all we are.”

Morris said he has lived at his

residence for two years, with his stepson moving a trailer on his

property later. He recently

received a letter that gave him 30 days from Jan. 1 to either

purchase a new meter or install a backflow prevention device.

He said he will be installing the meter as it will be cheaper in

the long run, although more costly upfront.

The backflow prevention device, Joffrion said, will require installation by a master plumber with specific certifications

and the device must be inspected yearly. The yearly inspection costs anywhere from $120 to $240.

Should customers fail to comply, Joffrion said, the waterworks district has the right to terminate water service.

According to Ken Pastorick, a Public

Information Officer with the Department of Health and Hospitals, the

state conducts surveys

of water systems both residential and commercial. In Jan. 2013, he

said, DHH engineering services cited the waterworks district

for failure to comply with its cross-connection violations and is

working closely with DHH to correct the deficiencies.

Pastorick said this regulation helps to

prevent contamination in the event of significant stress being put on

the water system.

He said contaminants can be drawn into the potable water system

through unsafe connections of premise plumbing systems with

non-potable water or chemicals, contaminating water in both the

premise plumbing system and the public water system.