Assumption Parish leaders plan to upgrade sewer systems

BERTRANDVILLE, LA (WAFB) - Assumption Parish leaders have plans to upgrade its sewer systems and install new ones in some communities that are still using private septic tanks. The parish calls it progress but people who live in Bertrandville believe a new sewer system will cost them in more ways than one.

People who live in Bertrandville are set in their own ways. They have utility bills like everyone else, except sewer. The houses are hooked to private septic tanks.

Residents, like Marion Patterson, said they've enjoyed maintaining their own.

"I had it cleaned about three months ago for $300. I(sic) got no problem," Patterson said.

He and his neighbors said they pay between $250 and $300 every 10 years to have their tanks serviced. Other than that, they said, their systems are maintenance-free.

Richie Skidmore and others in Bertrandville said they are frustrated with the Assumption Parish Police Jury's plans replace their tanks with a parish-run system. Skidmore went door to door with a petition rallying support against the switch.

From the estimated 150 households in the community, Skidmore got 114 signatures.

"Eighty to 85 percent of the people don't want it, don't need, and they're not going to pay for it," Skidmore said.

Homeowner, Zegory McGalliard, said he signed the document for two reasons.

"The smell, the cost over 15 to 20 years. I pumped that out for $300. Here you're looking at $30 a month. That's $300 a year, or better," McGalliard said.

Assumption Police Jury President Marty Triche said the parish got a community block grant to upgrade sewer systems. He said while some private systems are in good working order, a lot of them are not, he said that affects the entire community.

"I'm not sure $300 every 15 years for a properly run sewer system is accurate," Triche said.

Triche said each household will be billed about $20 a month for service and maintenance, which he estimated is about the same amount homeowners should be spending on keeping their private lines in compliance.

"I can understand the apprehension but it will be a well-run sewer system for the community," Triche said.

"This is not a situation where a third party will operate it. The parish will operate it. It will help get sanitary and sewer issues in the area upgraded," Triche said.

But residents see it as an added expense.

"Now we're going to have a sewerage bill and this is for life. We're talking about a long term payment here," Skidmore said.

The plan is up for discussion at the Assumption Parish Police Jury meeting on Wednesday. But, Triche warned, the new sewer system has already been approved.

The parish is set to start construction on the new sewer system in Bertrandville in the fall.

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