Developer, Army Corps of Engineers feuding over water line

Developer, Army Corps of Engineers feuding over water line

LIVINGSTON, LA (WAFB) - Some homeowners in Livingston are having big water problems.

Residents say they can't drink or cook with the water that they get from a private well. A developer believes he has the solution, but the Army Corps of Engineers is putting plans on hold.

Robert Beard, a resident, says that for the last three years, he hasn't been able to drink his water.

"It smells like rotten eggs all the time," Beard said. "We cannot drink the water, we cannot cook with it. The only thing we do is bathe and do our laundry."

Beard lives on Spring Ranch Road in Livingston, where there are around a dozen homes. Real Estate Developer, Garry Lewis, owns the area and approximately 2,000 surrounding acres. He wants to build a water tower near Milton Lane, which is about seven miles away, and supply water by a pipeline to nearby homes and a hospital. But a permit that Lewis submitted in 2014 to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is on hold.

Officials with the Corps have concerns about timber harvesting that Lewis's company does in the area near Milton, specifically the failure to plant a new crop of trees after some are cut down. Lewis organized a meeting with the Corps of Engineers at the Department of Agriculture and Forestry in an effort to resolve some of the issues.

But after two hours of discussion, they were far from any kind of resolution.

Representative with the Corps, engineer Robert Heffner, told Lewis that until their concerns about the logging practices are fixed, the permit will not be approved.

Lewis doesn't believe the two issues are related. "It's a bogus argument, that's where we are today," he said. "The people
need water, and I'm just trying to remind Mr. Heffner that if he had to take a shower in their water or drink it, he would have this resolved next week."

Heffner and other representatives declined to comment on camera. Lewis is not sure what his next step will be, but he says he'll do all he can to get the permit approved.

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