Clayton residents searching for water answers

Published 12:00 am Monday, July 10, 2000

CLAYTON, La. — Residents of U.S. 65 in Clayton said Friday that they plan to attend Tuesday’s Board of Aldermen meeting to find out more about what the town is doing to correct water problems in the long term.

&uot;I&160;plan to go, yes, because that’s how I’ll find out what’s going to be done,&uot;&160;said Nicole Barber.

About one year ago, the town used state funds to construct a new water plant to replace its older, deteriorating plant and replace some water lines, according to Mayor Wilbert Washington.

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But residents of U.S. 65 have said the water has been brown and smelly on and off since the early 1970s.

&uot;The water’s ruined all my white clothes. We have a rusty pipe in this area, that’s our problem,&uot;&160;said Annie Merritt, who also plans to attend Tuesday’s meeting.

&uot;Lately, they’ve said our water problems were due to the fire hydrant, but it has been going on for quite a while.&uot;

Merritt was referring to an incident in mid-June when a motorist knocked over a fire hydrant and shook up the town’s 40-year-old water lines, knocking a buildup of minerals off the inside of the pipes and into the water.

Neighbor Ruby Collins said she believes that residents will have a better chance of getting their concerns addressed if they voice them directly to local leaders.

&uot;People need to stick together and have a say – not necessarily to be forceful, but so they can find out more about what’s going on,&uot;&160;Collins said. &uot;We need to call attention to problems people face all the time.&uot;

The town has applied for a $463,030 Louisiana Community Development Block Grant to replace its remaining water lines.

Yet the town cannot be approved for that grant until it spends a $633,500 LCDBG grant it received last year to install new lift stations to improve its sewer system.

Town Engineer Bryant Hammett said the town probably will not get state permit approval for the project by Tuesday but said it should happen later this month.

&uot;I would say that it is imminent,&uot;&160;Hammett said.

After advertising for bids for the project for 25 days, getting pumps for the stations ordered and delivered would take six to eight weeks and installation would take about 60 days.

The meeting will be held at 7 p.m. at Town Hall at 101 Shady Lane.