Ascension Parish buys Peoples Water; improvements planned in Don - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

Ascension Parish buys Peoples Water; improvements planned in Donaldsonville

Source: WAFB Source: WAFB
Source: WAFB Source: WAFB
DONALDSONVILLE, LA (WAFB) -

Ascension Parish leaders signed off on a deal which allows the parish to take over a 75-year-old water system in Donaldsonville. Officials said residents can expect to see improvements in their water and utility services.

Some people who live in Donaldsonville have not forgotten the threat that hit their water supply this spring. The system, which serves part of the area was contaminated with a brain-eating amoeba. The Louisiana Department of Health found the parasite and called for a 60-day chlorine treatment to get rid of it.

On Tuesday morning, Parish President Kenny Matassa signed a purchase agreement with Peoples Water giving the parish full ownership of the water system.

"It's great for the people of Donaldsonville and the people of Ascension Parish," Matassa said.

Shockey Gillette, the president of Peoples Water, said plans for improved infrastructure and the water system's location to its customers will lessen the chances of parasites.

"One of the challenges was the water feeding [the Ascension Consolidated Utility District] was coming from miles away and for having the water plan right near the customers I think that'll take care of the concerns and problems with a low residual in the water system," Gillette said.

The parish also has access to grants and low-interest loans which parish councilman Oliver Joseph said will result in system upgrades, better service and convenience. While he said customers can expect a 30 percent increase in their monthly bills, it will now include water, waste, and garbage pickup, which had been charged individually in the past. 

"In one way we are increasing it but on the other end we are saving the public money," Oliver said. 

Leaders hope the enhancements will also help improve the city's fire rating, eventually creating an even bigger savings on insurance for homeowners. 

Customers can expect to see the increase on their utility bills in December. 

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