DONALDSONVILLE — City Council members on Tuesday tabled until March a proposed ordinance that would require new water cross connections and backflow prevention equipment to be installed on residences and businesses.
City Attorney Chuck Long said that, legally, the city does not need to adopt the law because the city does not provide potable water to its residents.
“This is a state-mandated order for the water companies,” Long said. “There’s no reason for the city to get involved with this. We don’t own the water company.”
According to the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals, the new equipment would work to prevent contaminants from entering the water system.
The city operates municipal gas and sewer services but not a system for potable water. Peoples Water Co., a privately held agency, supplies potable water to customers within the city limits.
However, Ascension Parish government is in the works to purchase Peoples Water, having authorized Parish President Tommy Martinez in June to negotiate the deal for up to $5 million.
“If the parish proceeds with purchasing the water company, it is more than capable of adopting this ordinance, as it will be the water purveyor to enforce it,” Long said.
Area water companies, including Peoples Water, have begun sending notifications about the new equipment, which must be installed and inspected by customers.
Mayor Leroy Sullivan Sr. said the city has received a second notice from state government concerning installation of the new equipment on city properties.
Sullivan added that Carroll Aucoin, manager of Peoples Water, informed him that if customers do not install the equipment, their water service will be deactivated until they do so.
The cross connection and backflow preventers “need to be on all potable water sources, whether it be sprinkler systems or structures,” the mayor said.
Long said the city should comply with the mandate, regardless of its choice to become involved with its enforcement.
Long suggested the council table the issue until March, so it can wait for the parish’s proposed purchase of Peoples Water to be completed before possibly adopting the measure.