About half of the mechanical sewer systems inspected in Calcasieu Parish are functioning properly, but one parish official said residents are quickly repairing the ones that aren’t working.
“Everything is moving along,” said Barbara Monroe, the parish’s senior environmental specialist. “I think everybody pretty much knows it’s something that needs to be done, and it’s a long time coming. The people I’ve spoken with tend to do what they need to do to make things right.”
The inspections — which began in January — are continuing in highly populated areas within Wards 1, 3 and 4. Homeowners with working sewer systems are given a green tag, while nonfunctioning systems are given a red tag. A yellow tag is issued when a system cannot be identified or accessed by an inspector.
After looking at the neighborhoods that were inspected so far, Monroe said she sees “a lot of green dots.”
“That means either they passed in the first place, or people got the (systems) repaired,” she said.
Monroe said some people have not responded after being issued a red tag. In addition to the tag, homeowners must sign a letter from the parish acknowledging they are aware of the inspection. Once the letter is signed, homeowners have 30 days to fix the system.
Monroe said some inspectors are finding systems that have the wrong motor installed. Other issues include non-working blower motors or septic tanks that need to be replaced or pumped out.
“People are not thrilled about spending money they didn’t anticipate,” she said. “But when I explain the situation, they understand.”
Fewer people are calling the sewer inspection hotline — 721-3847 — to report raw sewage from a nearby sewer system, schedule an inspection or ask questions. Monroe said there were 174 calls in April; there were 348 calls in March.
Monroe said the parish added a couple inspectors to help speed up the follow-up inspections.
There are more than 30,000 mechanical sewer systems in Calcasieu. The parish has $481,771 to pay for the inspections, with $289,063 coming from the Environmental Protection Agency and $192,708 from parish matching funds.