St. John water bill woes continue; parish pre-approved for loan

St. John water bill woes continue; parish pre-approved for loan

ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST PARISH, LA (WVUE) - Frustrations continue over skyrocketing and inaccurate water bills in St. John the Baptist Parish, but leaders might be one step closer to helping relieve those issues.

For more than a year, people in St. John worry they can't trust the numbers on their water bills. But exactly how to fix the problem has been the question in parish government. The water meters that are supposed to record and report water consumption remotely, are breaking.

In November 2016, Parish CEO Ross Gonzales said: "Back in February of 2016, we probably had a little over 2,000 failures, maybe 2,300 failures. We've since changed about 3,000 meters, and we are still back in the 2,000 range, which means they are failing just about as fast as we are replacing them."

It's a costly fix, but now parish government says it has been pre-approved for a $6 million loan. Leaders want to use this money to completely overhaul the meter readers. Water meters now are read automatically when workers drive by, pick up and read a signal.

The $6 million loan, though, would require work to replace every meter with a new system.

It's unclear how long the new meter technology is supposed to last, but the project is estimated to replace approximately 17,000 home, commercial and hydrant meters.

The parish will put the project out to bid first before awarding it to a company.

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