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LDH to investigate Magnolia Water quality, utility promises clearer water

Published: Mar. 8, 2022 at 9:37 PM CST
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SLIDELL, La. (WVUE) -After months and hundreds of complaints of brown water flowing through their taps, the Magnolia Water System told customers to flush their lines at home.

“She says it’s because they’ve changed the pipes and if I flush it through it will be fine but that didn’t make a difference at all,” said Gina Bissel.

Because of the discolored water, Slidell resident Gina Bissel says she’s still cleaning her appliances every other day and buying cases of water on top of a bill she says increased nearly 300 percent over a few months’ time. According to a new notice, the water system says the bill’s going up again starting June first.

“It’s a necessary thing and I’ve been quite upset about the rate hike and the fact I have brown water,” said Bissel.

“I’ve asked the Department of Health, specifically, the drinking water section to do an investigation,” said Sen. Sharon Hewitt.

As the public service commission approved the rate hikes, state senator, Sharon Hewitt says the only piece she can influence at this time is the water quality.

She explained early investigations show some of the water disinfectants or purifiers may have been changed, and not for the better.

“It’s still unacceptable everyone wants clean water we want it to look clean and meet all the standards, so I’ve asked the Department of Health to investigate that and see if there aren’t different disinfectants, they could work with Magnolia Water that would make this a better-quality system,” said Hewitt.

The Department of Health confirmed that an investigation will get underway in the coming days. Magnolia Water spokesperson, Greg Buisson says it’s an investigation they welcome.

“They should’ve looked into it a long time ago. But frankly, the problem with this system is that it’s 42 years old, and there’s been arguably no continued maintenance on this in the history of this system,” said Buisson.

He says the utility already started capital infrastructure improvements, switching to a chloramine system, and says even with the LDH investigation, residents should expect to see clearer water in seven to ten days.

“Still, there’s a lot of work to be done on the system itself. But the discoloration portion of it and the quality water portion of it should certainly be enhanced within the next week to two weeks,” said Buisson.

Bissel says she’ll believe it when she sees it.

“I don’t think it’s going to get any better in terms of the situation with the water quality and you know the price of it is even worse,” said Bissel.

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