Ferriday residents deserve safe water

Published 12:00 am Saturday, September 18, 1999

On the surface, the Ferriday, La., water woes seem like just an inconvenience. But the more you look, the more murky the situation actually appears – it’s downright scary.

It’s now been nearly a month since state officials came in and slapped a boil-water restriction on the plant that serves several thousand residents.

In that time we’ve all heard about the malfunctioning switch tied back with a piece of frayed twine. We’ve all learned much more about the poorly maintained water plant than we ever had before – and we’re still concerned.

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In mid-July the plant tested positive for the bacteria coliform, one of several water contaminants that can cause illness. And this was water that unsuspecting people were using to drink, cook and bathe.

Samples taken a few days later tested negative for the bacteria. State officials say there’s &uot;no point&uot; even testing the water for the bacteria until separate tests show that the water is clean enough to lift the boil-water notice.

But the mid-July failure raises more questions about the plant’s operation.

The state normally tests water samples from the plant six times a month. On average that leaves 24 days each month in which the water quality could be unfit to drink and yet go undetected.

The issue is yet one more obstacle facing the Town of Ferriday as it struggles to get the plant operational again. People have lost faith in the water plant. And sometimes faith is difficult to regain.

We believe the people of Ferriday deserve to know the water they are drinking is safe – 365 days a year – period.