DEQ: sewage pond leaked into waterways for thirty years
A trailer park owner is cleaning up a sewage pond in Iberville Parish after it went unnoticed by state inspectors for thirty years.
The pond is at a trailer park that closed in May, and officials believe runoff from it may have seeped into the Upper Grand River and other waterways south of the parish.
The runoff has fishermen like Rusty Simoneaux and Kenny Babin keeping an eye on where they cast their lines.
“If I'm looking over there and I see a tailpipe coming out of a trailer and I see it's not going through a treatment facility, I'm not going to throw my bait there,” said Simoneaux.
Department of Environmental Quality spokesperson Rodney Mallett admitted that sometimes environmental complaints will fall through the cracks, but said that’s not the case here.
“We never got a complaint or anything about this site until July,” he said.
Mallett said after that complaint in July, DEQ found out the property owner didn’t have a permit for his sewage system. He also admits there could be other sites like it that have gone unnoticed.
“Louisiana is a big state, and there are only so many people who can go out and inspect,” he said.
Mallett said that’s why his agency depends on people in the community, such as fishermen like Simoneaux, to notify the department when they spot a sewage problem.
But Simoneaux said a little dirty water still won't keep him from fishing.
“I'm out here, and if we catch fish, we're gone eat ‘em,” he said.
DEQ is working with the property owner to get the sewage pond cleaned out so the land can be returned to pasture.