Sulphur mayor, council address water discoloration issue

Published 1:02 pm Friday, October 13, 2023

Two important concerns – water discoloration in the western part of the city and an unstriped Maplewood Drive – were addressed at the Sulphur City Council meeting Tuesday. Also at that meeting, the owner of a house that’s been under construction since 2006 received a nudge to get it done.

Mayor Mike Danahay told Council about the recent situation at the Verdine Water Plant that led to water discoloration.

Certain Sulphur residents expressed alarm when water became discolored because they had seen this before. A city water plant improvement project began in 2020 and it took about two years to clear up the situation, concluding a filtering system and new well.

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“A valve was stuck open and continued to pump out of a particular well. As it continued to draw down, more iron than normal broke through our filters once again,” Danahay explained. “We think this was an anomaly and pumped out of another well to correct the situation.”

Council member Nick Nezat commended city workers for their prompt response and hard work over the weekend to rectify the problem.

For those who had or are having problems with laundry discoloration, rust stains, due to the high levels of iron, the City of Sulphur offers a supplement to use in the wash, and it’s free of charge.

Public Works Director Austin Abraham said the newly repaired portions of Maplewood Drive are finally ready to be striped, weather permitting The last couple of cracked panels have been re-poured and significant roughness ground down in certain spots.

You have been working on your house since when?

Recently a property came to the city’s attention on which there was an unfinished house without water or electricity. Also on the property were two small trailers/mobile homes of less than 500 feet. The city’s ordinance does not allow for more than one housing unit on a single piece of property and a special variance has to be obtained to live in a mobile home or manufactured housing that is older than 10 years and another variance to live in a mobile home smaller than 600 square feet. The property owner had not obtained any variances.

Moreover, the Council discovered that the property owner has been working on building this house since 2006 – after Hurricane Rita – when he pulled his first and only permit thus far, the permit needed to pour the slab. Hurricane Laura and Delta messed up the roof on the house in progress, which the property owner has repaired.

The good news is, progress is being made. He has secured a contractor. The contractor attended the Council meeting. One of the smaller and oldest housing units will be removed from the property and the owner will be able to live in the FEMA trailer he has been renting since Hurricane Laura to finish his house but if and only if, he pulls permits and makes tangible progress.

(There are many other details/laws/processes/approvals that pertain to mobile home living in Sulphur. Before purchasing, selling or moving a mobile home, review Chapter 14 – Mobile Homes and Recreational Vehicles.)

Vice Chair Melinda Hardy noted the correspondence received  from the Lt. Governor’s Office of Cultural Development announcing the creation of four new Cultural Districts in Louisiana, of which Downtown Sulphur is one.

The Mayor said the process was started some time ago around the time the Community Foundation was making visits to various neighborhoods to get input for its Just Imagine Southwest Louisiana catalytic projects.

“In Sulphur, one of the ideas that was spotlighted was a strong downtown,” Danagay said. “First we had to get the designation. I think it runs from The Grove to Burton St. This opens the door for us, particularly downtown. Grants can now be available to improve our downtown area.”

Certified Cultural Districts benefit from two targeted tax incentives, renovation on historic buildings may qualify for state historic tax credits and qualifying works of original art are exempt from local sales tax. The program’s goal is to spark community revitalization based on cultural activity through tax incentives, technical assistance and resources.”

Danahay announced that Finance Director Jennifer Thorn has been selected to be on the Board of the Government Finance Officers Association, which he called a “big deal.” Thorn said she not only looks forward to representing finance directors in municipalities across the State, but also of an opportunity to bring back what she learns from others, to Sulphur.