Apr 17, 2014 8:51 PM by Dave Fields

DEQ warns WTSO about wastewater pond; resident reports sewage in yard

The Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) says that the company that owns an oxidation pond in a Ville Platte neighborhood has been cited and sent a warning letter regarding that facility's outflow.

That homeowners who live behind the Kennedy Oxidation Pond owned by Wastewater Treatment Systems and Operations (WTSO) out of Denham Springs tell KATC that their backyard has been inundated with an unknown sludge from the wastewater treatment facility.

Thelma and Joseph Toussaint said that, on Jan. 14, they reported to Evangeline Parish Sheriff's Office (EPSO) that the backyard of their Ville Platte home located at 1079 John F. Kennedy Ave. had become virtually unwalkable as a result of what they say is smelly sediment and water that had been excavated by a WTSO worker with some sort of dredging machine. The Toussaints said that there was so much moisture in their yard that it had prevented them from mowing their lawn. Lt. Dwayne Ledoux recorded the homeowners' complaints on an initial EPSO complaint report.

The homeowner has numerous pictures in her possession of what appears to be dredged sediment deposited atop the levee that separates the oxidation pond from her property. The homeowners pictures also document a fair amount of sitting water that she says appeared on her property despite the absence of rain.

Ledoux's notes include the following:

"Thelma said that for the past three days someone has been digging in the old sewage plant behind her house and now the sewage water from the plant is coming into her yard and she can't go in her backyard because from the plants coming into her yard and she can't go in her backyard because it's too wet and nasty. She said that she wants it to stop," his report reads.

The report says that the homeowner indicated that she already had called both Louisiana State Police and DEQ about her complaints. Ledoux noted in his report that he did not smell sewage, but that he "did see water in her backyard." Ledoux also wrote in his report that he approached an individual at the site of the digging. Ledoux said that the man, Juwen Stevens, had informed him that "the old sewage plants" had been purchased and that "they are building up the levees."

Ledoux's report also documents what he was told by Stevens.

"He (Stevens) said he hadn't realized the water was going onto other properties. I (Ledoux) advised him to talk to with his boss and dig a trench or some type of solution for the water not to go onto other properties. He said that he would make contact with his boss and advise him of the complaint," the report ends.

"DEQ did take samples at the outflow from the oxidation pond," said DEQ Press Secretary Greg Langley.

"A referral was received by Enforcement in February 2014. A warning letter was issued. A response to the warning letter has not been received by the department. The case is under investigation, and the appropriate action will be issued in the near future," Langley added.

Numerous attempts this week to reach out to WTSO officials resulted in several unreturned calls.



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