North Shore residents could endure nearly a year of brown Magnolia System Water through home taps

Published: Feb. 22, 2022 at 10:20 PM CST
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - “This has been going on for the last three months,” said Eden Isles homeowner Michelle Laegel.

Staring down a bathtub full of discolored water, Laegel says it’s anything but relaxing.

“The water is browning yellow. This is actually better than it has been in the last month or so,” she said.

It’s not just an issue with the bath faucet. The brown, murky, sediment-filled water runs throughout the entire house.

“It’s staining all our baths and toilets, all of our facilities … I’m extremely frustrated. I feel like it’s kind of after a hurricane. It’s a water boil advisory all the time and I’m paying for the water boil advisory,” said Laegel.

In the past week alone, the Fox 8 defenders received dozens of complaints from Magnolia Water customers stretching across the Northshore.

Laegel says it would be one thing to exclusively use bottled water for eating and drinking, but their Magnolia Water bill from October to January increased nearly 300 percent.

“It’s very frustrating … we don’t have any options. I can’t go to a different water company. This is my water company,” said Laegel.

According to documents filed with the public service commission requesting the rate hike, Magnolia Water claims they spent more than 47 million dollars investing in and acquiring water and wastewater systems.

“Systems that date back 30 and 40 years, and the infrastructure hasn’t been touched to any great degree. So what’s happened is the decaying of the systems has really caused it to be a situation that the system needs to be completely rebuilt,” said spokesperson, Greg Buisson.

Buisson says the water is safe. But he says COVID-19, equipment and shipping delays for those projects mean murky water could continue for the better part of a year.

“You’ll see improvements along the way. But you won’t see that spring light quality water that is the goal,” said Buisson.

“I keep thinking I’m an optimistic person and hoping they’ll fix it,” said Laegel.

While a fix may be coming down the pipe, Laegel says it’s not a fix that’s fair right now.

“Maybe they’ll realize that it’s not fair to charge the prices that they’re charging and providing the service they’re providing,” said Laegel.

The Magnolia Water System spokesperson says the utility does plan to have quarterly meetings to better inform the public of what’s going on.

He says in the meantime, homeowners should contact the utility to see if they need to flush their lines to improve their home water quality.

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