BATON ROUGE- Drinking water infrastructure in Louisiana got a near failing grade from experts Wednesday.
The American Society of Civil Engineers downgraded the state's water systems to a D- in its 2017 Infrastructure Report Card.
"Frankly it's embarrassing," said Dr. Kam Movassaghi, the executive director of the report card and former head of Louisiana's Department of Transportation and Development. "Water infrastructure for the majority of the state is 50 years old."
Louisiana sits on some of the best aquifers in the country but many water systems can't maintain the quality. In the town of St. Joseph in the northeastern part of the state, infrastructure has degraded so much that lead was found in resident's homes last year.
"You can't bath in it, you can't wash your clothes in it, you can't wash dishes in it," resident James Skinner said.
Louisiana needs $5.3 billion for water systems over the next 20 years according to a 2011 EPA estimate. The greatest need is in rural, independent systems.
Also in the report card, Louisiana's roads and bridges fared almost as poorly, getting grades of D and D+.