‘Unbearable’: Business owner complains of raw sewage leak in Ferriday

Published 9:49 pm Friday, April 14, 2023

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FERRIDAY, La. — Sewage leaks have caused havoc for at least one Ferriday business owner while town officials were waiting on bids to replace busted lines, officials revealed in a town council meeting Tuesday.

Sandra Williams told Mayor Rydell Turner and members of the Board of Aldermen that green sewage was coming up from the grates between her business, GG’s Uniform LLC on Mickey Gilley Avenue, and the Big Johns barbeque restaurant next door.

She said the restaurant owner told her it was the town’s problem to fix.

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“It has been reported to the health department. There is raw sewage running out on each side of the building,” she said.

However, Turner said the leak was businesses’ fault for not properly cleaning grease traps.

“We have a grease trap problem. Businesses who don’t comply with the grease ordinances, we’re going to have to impose some sort of fine on them,” he said. “It’s not the town’s fault, it’s the business’s fault that are not dumping the grease. We’ve got to take action because it’s costing the town a lot of money to fix.”

Turner told council members that Jabar Corporation of Calhoun was the lone bidder to fix the damage. To remove and replace asphalt and repair the busted sewage line, they bid $72,174.10.

However, Turner said he was waiting on another bid from Womack Construction.

Ferriday Aldermen voted unanimously not to wait.

“We don’t have to wait for Womack for anything. If you’ve got one bid, you need to take that one bid,” Alderwoman Gloria Lloyd said. “We have a major sewer problem and that should be the first thing we look at before anything else. It’s a health problem also.”

The business owner agreed.

“It’s getting worse,” Williams said. “The smell is unbearable. It’s sitting right in front of my office and running right in front of my door. That’s not fair to me as a taxpayer.”

In other matters Tuesday, Lloyd also said the town was behind on receiving financial reports.

Turner said the town was also having trouble locating an auditor to audit the town’s finances after The Vercher Group of Jena said it could no longer work with the town.

Turner said he approached Silas Simmons of Natchez to do the audit also, but the firm was already booked up and couldn’t do it.

“We were in trouble last month and we’re in double trouble now,” Lloyd said of the town’s finances. “We are way out of compliance. … We can’t operate without funds.”

Town Clerk Marchelle Donnelly said she was told by the town’s CPA there was a problem with the town’s accounting system called “Quick Books,” which is why the financial reports were not issued. Donnelly said she was told the issue was fixed Tuesday but not in time to produce them before the meeting.

Ferriday Attorney Phillip Letard presented a new ordinance proposal that deals with unkept or improperly kept properties.

Letard said he “didn’t try to reinvent the wheel,” and instead drafted an ordinance similar to the Town of Vidalia’s property ordinance.

Turner also announced Ferriday will host a Stop the Violence Rally on Monday at 6 p.m. at Haney’s Big House Music Hall that would include guest speakers, music and refreshments.

“The goal of this event is to come together as a community, address the issue of violence in our town and promote peace and unity. This rally is being led by community members who are committed to creating a safer and more peaceful town for everyone. We invite all members of the public to attend,” Turner said.