Bigger picture of Shreveport's water leak woes - KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana News Weather & Sports

Bigger picture of Shreveport's water leak woes

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SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) -

Complaints are pouring in to city hall and to KSLA News 12 about Shreveport's crumbling water and sewer systems. Now, we're taking a closer look at what's being done to fix this huge problem.

On Thursday, February 20th, we showed viewers a block-long puddle in the 26-hundred block of West College Street in Shreveport's Queensborough neighborhood. It's caused by a leaking water meter. Residents told us they've called the city repeatedly to have the problem fixed. But just over an hour after we called the city, crews arrived to begin the process of having the meter leak fixed. But we're told that could take up to a week to finish.

On a larger scale, the city of Shreveport faces a monumental task. Over the next decade alone city leaders will spend tens of millions of dollars on repairs and upgrades to the water and sewer systems, with the federal government looking over their shoulder. But for many residents it's the smaller problems that seem to get neglected.

"Yeah, it's a little daunting when you think about it," reflected Barbara Featherston. But 'a little daunting' doesn't begin to describe the task ahead for Featherston, as Director of Shreveport's Water & Sewerage Department. "The system is crumbling. and we're, you know, we're patching, pasting."

Three years ago, voters did approve a 175-million dollar bond issue to help rebuild Shreveport's aging infrastructure, 92-million dollars of which Featherston said will be spent on water and sewer department projects.

Then there's the water and sewer rate hikes that kicked in last fall, which Featherston estimated will bring in another 12-million dollars a year, a million dollars of which she said will pay for the hiring of more staff in her department.

But even as that money begins to trickle in, there's now a backlog of 600 work orders from some of the 66-thousand customers who call in with problems every day: "On any given day we get anywhere from six hundred to a thousand calls into our call center," said Featherston.

She admitted that some work orders fall through the cracks. "Perfectly honest, we have issues with those more often then I would like and I get irritated because I want our staff to address things in a timely manner."

Then the water leaks in the 500-block of Joanna Drive in Shreveport's Lynbrook neighborhood would certainly irritate Featherston. They're a constant frustration for resident Avril Sanders:

REPORTER: "It's looked like this..."
AVRIL SANDERS: "Yes..."
REPORTER: "For how long?"
AVRIL SANDERS: "About seven, eight months and then I'm wondering how they even ready my water meter."

Sanders told us she's called and called the city to fix this problem, not to mention another leak on the other side of her driveway. "Water stays here year-round. It's never gone."

Featherston had a message for residents like Avril Sanders: Keep calling. She promises that problems will get fixed, but asked for patience. And when people call the water department, she said they can also get updates on the status of those repair efforts.

According to the city of Shreveport Water Department's web site, a water leak that is on the city's side of the meter can be reported to the 24-hour emergency dispatcher at (318) 673-7600. You are responsible for repairs on your side of the water meter.

 

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