LAFAYETTE — Six subdivisions in unincorporated parts of Lafayette Parish could see cleaner tap water under a tentative deal for a public water district to take over systems owned by Total Environmental Solutions Inc., parish officials said Tuesday.
Lafayette Parish Waterworks District North, which serves rural areas of the parish, is moving forward with a provisional plan to provide water in Shenandoah Estates, Lakeview Estates, Young Acres, Hackberry Place, Country Square and Royalton Park.
The deal was made possible after TESI, facing questions about water quality, offered to donate its water distribution systems in the subdivisions to the waterworks district, said Lafayette City-Parish Councilman Don Bertrand, who represents the Shenandoah Estates area.
TESI is a private water and sewer company that owns small neighborhood systems throughout Acadiana.
The most vocal complaints about its water quality have come from Shenandoah Estates, where residents have said the iron content is sometimes so high that the water flows rusty brown from the tap and stains sinks and bathtubs.
The water from TESI meets state and federal health standards, Bertrand said, “but they probably allow for more variances than we are willing to accept.”
State Rep. Page Cortez, R-Lafayette, said the “expectation is much higher than the accepted standard.”
The legislator said he plans to seek out state money for the water project, which is estimated at $1 million.
The plan is not a done deal because a few unknowns remain, such as whether the waterworks district can secure the necessary rights of way to connect its pipes to TESI’s water distribution systems.
Bertrand said there is no set timeline for when the new water might arrive in the six subdivisions, but he expects it could be at least a year before the changeover from TESI to the public system.
“It’s fantastic, if it happens and we can get it,” said Graeme Tuminello, a Shenandoah Estates resident.
He said that 129 of the subdivision’s roughly 230 homes are served by TESI, with the remainder served by individual water wells.
About 400 homes in the six subdivisions would receive new water service under the tentative agreement.
Shenandoah Estates is in the Broussard area. The other five subdivisions are in northern parts of the parish.
Under the proposed agreement, the waterworks district would connect the subdivision’s water distribution system to the larger waterworks system, disconnecting the smaller water wells and treatment systems operated by TESI.
The waterworks district purchases most of its water from Lafayette Utilities System but also has a well in the northeastern area of the parish, said Byron Guillory, legal counsel for the waterworks district.
A representative from TESI did not return a call Tuesday afternoon for comment about the tentative deal.
Bertrand said the company likely wants to be freed from the financial strain and headaches of maintaining aging water systems.