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Governor’s committee lists water systems in Melville, Baldwin, as among state’s worst

Posted: 4:42 PM, May 30, 2018
Updated: 2018-05-30 17:42:41-04

Out of the hundreds of Louisiana’s dysfunctional drinking water systems, the governor’s kitchen cabinet has found the 10 worst on which they plan to focus first, including the systems in Melville and Baldwin, the Advocate reports .

Mostly in central Louisiana with a couple in St. Tammany Parish and Acadiana, the top 10 — the governor’s office prefers to call them “most distressed” rather than “worst” — have deteriorating pipes and pumps, problems with managing the system, insufficient financing for maintenance, and water quality threats, said Leslie Durham, who heads the water infrastructure task force created by Gov. John Bel Edwards on March 22.

Edwards’ panel, for the first time, put in one place representatives from different state and federal agencies dealing with drinking water. Hopefully, Durham said, the task force working across jurisdictional lines can use their experiences dealing with the first 10 to develop procedures and protocols for the rest of the troubled systems.

Of the state’s roughly 1,300 drinking water systems, about half operate infrastructure that is more than 50 years old.

Other systems have some of the problems — and they will be on a list eventually — but the 10 are the closest to crisis. The governor’s task force plans to work with these 10 systems before they get to the emergency level that the northeast Louisiana town of St. Joseph’s did in 2016, when dangerous levels of lead and copper required the total replacement of the pipes, filters and equipment at a cost to taxpayers of $9 million.

Read the full story at The Advocate