Iberville Parish water systems score high in Louisiana Department of Health survey

Staff Report

Grades for community water and water system accountability drew straight As for Iberville Parish, based on the findings of a state survey released last week.

The Louisiana Department of Health gave the parish an A for water quality on all 12 systems across the parish.

Ten of the 12 systems scored 80 out of 80, while two garnered an “A” despite not achieving a perfect grade.

The systems that drew perfect score were:

  • Village of Grosse Tete
  • Intracoastal Water System West.
  • Town of Maringouin
  • City of Plaquemine
  • Village of Rosedale
  • East Iberville Water System
  • Gillis Long Center
  • Highway 1148 Water System
  • Tesi Plantation Gardens
  • Intracoastal Water System East

Town of White Castle and North Iberville Water System received As but did not garner perfect scores. White Castle scored a 72 out of 80, while North Iberville had a 79.

White Castle lost five points on “secondary contaminants” for levels of iron and/or manganese greater than the secondary maximum contaminant levels. These levels do not pose a health risk but may cause undesirable water quality issues.

White Castle also lost three points on “Operations and Maintenance.”

“Points deducted for operation and maintenance deficiencies noted during water system inspections, which may affect the water quality being distributed to consumers,” according to the report.

North Iberville lost one point under the category of “State Water Quality.”

The points were deducted “for state violations, which include no water operator, inadequate water disinfection, and boil notices and water outages, may lead to other issues of concern if not resolved,” the report said.

Water system grades evaluate community water systems’ long-term sustainability to provide safe drinking water to Louisiana residents. Seven standards (categories) are evaluated for the water grade: federal water quality, state violations, financial sustainability, operation and maintenance, infrastructure, customer satisfaction, and secondary contaminants. Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) maintains data for all standards except financial sustainability and customer satisfaction. Water systems are required to submit data for financial sustainability and customer satisfaction standards by Jan. 31.

LDH administers the Safe Drinking Water Program in accordance with the Safe Drinking Water Act (40 CFR 141-142) to ensure that safe, quality drinking water is provided by the public water systems. LDH oversees approximately 1,280 public water systems statewide by monitoring drinking water monthly for bacteriological contaminants (i.e., total coliforms and E. coli) and chlorine residuals, quarterly for disinfection by-products and every three years or annually for most other chemical contaminants. LDH also conducts physical inspections, investigates water complaints and performs emergency response tasks.

Act 98 (SB129 2021 Legislative Session) created the Community Drinking Water Infrastructure Sustainability Act, which required LDH to promulgate a rule that would establish letter grades for community water systems. The intent was to provide an accountability process to support drinking water sustainability for the residents of Louisiana. 

The water system grades will be published in two stages this year. A final water system grade will be published by May 1 that will include all seven categories (totaling 100 points) required for the water system grade plus bonus points.

Starting in 2024, only final grades will be published at https://ldh.la.gov/watergrade by May 1 each year.

For water systems with a grade of D or F, LDH is working with those water systems to return to compliance with regulations through the enforcement process, upgrade or replace infrastructure through loans/grants, and/or consolidate with another water system that is sustainable. In dire cases, LDH may seek receivership for the water system where the enforcement process has not yielded timely compliance with regulations.

Approximately 34% of the water systems with a grade of D or F have applied or have funding through the Water Sector Program and/or LDH Drinking Water Revolving Loan Fund Program to address their issues. Also, for water systems with a grade of D or F, LDH must notify State Bond Commission, Louisiana Public Service Commission, Louisiana Legislative Auditor, and Attorney General to assist with oversight of funding, new debt and revenue spending.