Sulphur apartment complex accused of letting raw sewage flow

By By Natalie Stewart / American Press

SULPHUR ­— The city of Sulphur and the state Department of Environmental Quality are investigating an apartment complex for

the illegal discharge of raw sewage.

Mayor Chris Duncan said the city was informed by a tenant at Parkway Apartments, 210 N. Beglis Parkway, that raw sewage has

been discharged on the property for about five months without apartment supervisors taking any action.

Duncan said the tenant informed him via

email that “there is a serious problem here with the sewer; it’s always

backing up

in and around the apartments and on the grounds of the complex ...

there is raw human waste on the ground. ... Many of the

tenants have complained more than a few times. The sewage has

gotten so bad that the entire complex is now surrounded by raw

sewage.”

Danny Dupre, Sulphur fire chief, said city crews went to the site Monday morning and gave management a 48-hour window to correct

the problem, but as of late Thursday afternoon it still existed.

“The mayor and I went out there again after the 48-hour notification and the problem was still there so we made some phone

calls Wednesday afternoon for (management) to meet us there Thursday morning to discuss further action,” he said.

Dupre said Thursday the complex was issued a citation that is compoundable daily — every day there is a violation, another

citation is issued. Duncan was uncertain Thursday evening how much the citations were for.

“A kid walked up to the mayor and asked

what he was doing there and the mayor said ‘we came to make things

better for y’all,’”

Dupre said. “The little kid said ‘y’all are going to clean it up

so we can play again?’ Even these kids know this is a problem.”

Duncan said every time he has visited the property since being notified of the problem children have been playing around the

sewage.

“Residents are coming out and telling

us horror stories while we are there; this is serious,” he said.

“Watching little kids

going out there and playing in and around it is heartbreaking.

These kids are out there with fish nets trying to catch minnows

that are swimming in sewage. No one should have to live in these

kinds of conditions.”

Duncan said the same situation occurred at Parkway Apartments in 2010 and the city had to “take aggressive action” then.

“We try to inspect these things as much as we can,” Dupre said. “These are people’s homes; they don’t have to live like that

but a lot of the apartments are hard to inspect until we get a complaint.”

Duncan said in a situation like this, residents should not wait for a response from management but should immediately contact

City Hall.

“Legally, we could have turned off the water to the apartments until they fixed the problem,” Duncan said. “But that means

24 apartments without water; we just can’t do that to that many people.”

Dupre said the city could shut the complex down if the problems persists, but “it would be a last resort because of how many

families would be affected.”

DEQ is also investigating the matter as well to ensure that clean-up is done correctly and that there isn’t any remaining

discharge of sewage on the property, Dupre said.

Scott Wilkerson, DEQ supervisor for

Southwest Louisiana, said DEQ received a complaint Thursday morning and

has begun investigating

the complex for illegal discharge of sewage.

Mac-Re LLC, property manager out of New Orleans for the complex, did not return request for comments and apartment supervisor

Brenda Webb declined comment.