Arsenic battle boils over at Parish Council Meeting

Wednesday, April 20, 2011 - 10:00pm

In St. Landry Parish tonight, the battle over clean water continues.

Residents in a rural community between Krotz Springs and Melville found out their well water was contaminated with Arsenic back in February. They had it tested after a neighbor had to be hospitalized for arsenic poisoning.

They've asked the Parish for emergency funds, to build a pipeline supplying fresh water from a neighboring town. And at the Parish Council meeting, they made sure their message was heard.

Some members of the Council agreed with residents, asking Parish President Don Menard why they can't do more to help. But President Menard says there's no money and declaring a state of emergency doesn't change that.

The meeting ended on a positive note, though. The community's water board found an alternate source of funding, a grant through the state's Community Water Enrichment Program. 

President Menard signed the application for that grant at the meeting. If approved, the community will receive $250,000 towards their clean water project. It's a small victory, but not nearly enough. The USDA estimates building a pipeline from Krotz Springs to this area will cost $980,000. So far, residents have no answers on where the rest of the money will come from, or when. 

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