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Water & Sewer Discussion in City Council - KTBS.com - Shreveport, LA News, Weather and Sports

Water & Sewer Discussion in City Council

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SHREVEPORT, La -

When and how much? That's the big question for Shreveport's leaders. The city's facing major fines from the feds if it doesn't make some costly repairs to an aging system. We see examples of the problem everyday, broken water mains that water onto city streets. Since 2009, city crews have repaired an estimated 1,100 sewer overflows. That's one of the problems that led the Department of Justice to tell the City of Shreveport to fix the sewer problems facing the city.

Right now they estimate needing $350 million dollars to tackle the city's old water and sewer system and they say we all are going to have to pitch in and help bear the burden of cost with higher utility rates. The city has been working with the Department of Justice and the Environmental Protection Agency for a while now. trying to come up with the best solution to our sewer problem. They say the best solution on the table right now is raising the water and sewer rates by October for everyone using City of Shreveport services. But a few council members say they still don't agree that should be the final say. City officials are still working with the federal government on the sewerage crisis and still trying to figure out is $350 million dollars going to be enough to fix the problem.

Barbara Featherston is the Interim Director of Shreveport's Water and Sewer Department. "Right now we're still in that assessment phase with our modeling and until we sit down with EPA and figure out how they want our modeling, we really won't know what those costs will be." Sam Jenkins is a Shreveport City Councilman. He said, "Is what we're raising going to be enough to address the problem, will it be more than enough to address the problem or God forbid it becomes a scenario were we think we need 350 million and we actually need more than 600 million."

The city has a lot of work to do to figure out just how bad the sewer situation is. They have an idea, but they are still running tests. On the City Council agenda for Tuesday is the introduction of the Consent Decree from the federal government outlining what work we need to have done and deadlines for completion. It outlines how much work has to be done  to fix the city's water and sewer system and the deadline for getting all of the work done.
Right now, the Consent Decree from the federal government is giving the City of Shreveport 12 years to fix it's sewer system. Jeff Everson, the City Infrastructure Chairman is working with the city on this very issue. He said, there's no wiggle room to get the work done because the federal government says it has to get taken care of. "The flip side of that though is that there are people who have raw sewerage coming up out of the ground into their houses... It's a real problem."

The council can't vote on whether Mayor Glover can sign the Consent Decree, moving forward with addressing our water and sewer system problems until the next city council meeting that's scheduled for August 13th. Officials anticipate you'll see an increase in water rates by October of this year. However, they still want to have public meetings about the rate increase before voting it into effect.

 

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