Water bills for residents of Delcambre are changing thanks to an upgrade of the town’s water system.
Bills will move from the current flat fee service to a new billing system based off of customer’s monthly usage. All residents currently pay a fee of $22.50 per month for water services. Improvements will include upgrades to water meters and water lines in the city.
Mayor Pam Blakely says that some residents believed the flat fee was unfair, pointing out that some residents use more water than others. The town was also reportedly losing money while in the current billing system. Approximately 1,000 customers split between Vermilion and Iberia Parish are serviced under the town’s water system.
Improvements are being partially funded with a $2,013,000 loan from the Louisiana Department of Health’s Drinking Water Revolving Loan Fund Program and financial assistance from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Officials say the total funding amount is $3,773,220.
Mayor Pro-Tem Timmy Derise says the town began the process of purchasing meters several years ago but was unable to overhaul the system without additional funding.
“We’ve been piecemealing improvements for the past 10 years, changing some pipes and buying some meters along the way. But now with this funding, we will be able to upgrade our water lines and fully install the meters to switch to a metered billing system, which will be better for customers and better for the town,” Derise said.
Derise noted that about 40 percent of the town’s water lines are in need of repair. Those repairs will be made as part of this investment.
DWRLF says that the loan will allow Delcambre to make affordable improvements to the towns water system and local drinking water infrastructure. The town is also eligible for loan forgiveness.
The United States Congress established state Drinking Water Revolving Loan Fund programs in 1996 as part of an amendment to the Safe Drinking Water Act. The program is jointly funded by an annual grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (80 percent) and the individual participating states (20 percent).