Water woes continue to plague Sulphur

Rita LeBleu

Five Sulphur residents participated in the Walk for Water on Monday making their way from Sulphur City Hall to the City Council Chambers — about four blocks — with posters in hands.

“It’s not a demonstration,” said Terry Anderson, one of the walk organizers. “It’s just a friendly walk.”

“We want to bring people’s attention to the problem,” said Cindy Anderson.

These were just a few of the many Sulphur residents who have expressed concern about their water on social media, at city council meetings, to the news and to public officials.

One young mother walked with her 4-year-old to “bring a younger face to the issue,” she said later in the City Council meeting. “Our children are the future and I shouldn’t have to drive to my mom’s house for my family to take baths and to buy water for cooking and drinking.”

Katherine Vincent walked with her poster and a plastic bag containing two water filters full of rusty brown filters.

“I want to know if the city is going to help people who can’t afford to install a water system in their homes,” she asked the council members.

Anderson said she has received phone calls and social media messages from at least 100 residents who are dissatisfied with their water due to its color, the sediment, the smell (sometimes like chlorine and sometimes like sulfur), the residue it leaves on their skin after showering and bathing, corrosion of appliances and discoloration of white clothing and linens. Some have complained of skin issues that have developed after using the water.

The water is tested by the Louisiana Department of Health monthly, and is deemed safe for drinking.

Cynthia Robertson agreed the water is deemed safe by the LDH. However, she says those standards were established 20 years ago. Much has been learned regarding public health since that time. She has contacted the Disaster Justice Network about the water in her neighborhood and they have agreed to foot the bill for extensive testing from 10 different taps.

“I live in an area where residents don’t really have the resources for water testing,” Robertson said.

She said she is especially concerned with the 

manganese levels in the Sulphur water. When Anderson had her water tested by Simple Labs, it was found to have .056 ppm of manganese. Simple Labs recommends manganese water levels that do not exceed .04 ppm.

Manganese is not included in the Department of Health assessment, according to Robertson.

“The EWG (Environmental Working Group) health guideline of 100 ppb for manganese was defined by the state of Minnesota as a health risk limit,” she said.

Robertson said Sulphur’s water has five times that amount.

The city of Sulphur has ordered new filter systems for the Verdine Water Plant, and at the City Council meeting a resolution was approved authorizing the advertisement of bids for Water Well No. 3R.

A letter from the city was distributed at the City Council meeting stating the city “recognizes the concerns with its water plant and is determined to resolve those issues.” The letter described the issues as long-standing and exacerbated by major disasters. 

””

Katherine Vincent brings the water filters from 1522 Ashley St. in Sulphur — the home of Denise Birdhooper — that show 9 weeks of filtration at Sulphur City Council meeting Monday night.

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