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Baton Rouge taxpayers to pay another half million for sewage settlements

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BATON ROUGE - Taxpayers in Baton Rouge will be shelling out another $500,000 to settle sewer claims from September, when raw sewage spilled out of the Gardere treatment plant flooding several homes.

A resident, not wanting to be identified, currently lives at one of the apartment complexes receiving a settlement from the damages, and she was living there when the spill happened.

“I don't know how long the water had been, well the sewage, had been gushing out or what but it didn't go down. If anything it kept coming up to the point where it was going into people's apartments,” she explained.

Another resident remembers that day as well.

“I was checking my mailbox, and I just saw beaucoup water. And I'm like where is this water coming from?” she said.

And this wasn't clean water.

“Dirty water, street water, sewer water. Water that looks like it's supposed to be in a plant you know what I'm saying, the plant water,” she explained.

Back in March, WBRZ reported about the settlements up until that point. Two months ago the city had approved settlements of $460,073.47, nearly totaling half a million dollars. Today's settlements put the total well over a million dollars.

One of the settlements alone was  $491,977.90.

“The focus since September has been working with residents who are impacted, property owners who have been impacted, but more importantly it's been focused on mitigating this type of spill from ever happening again,” explained District 3 councilman Rowdy Gaudet.

The city spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to buy the property this apartment complex sits on in an attempt to prevent more costly settlements.

“So, it was buying out some of the nearby properties and then utilizing that land as more of a buffer zone,” Gaudet said.

The settlements are being paid to the property owners, and some of the residents, who now have to find new homes, say they feel like they have no help.

“I feel like I'm getting the shaft. After 14 years, just help us out so we can move somewhere decent. Don't just like throw us under the bus because that's how we feel, like we've been thrown under the bus."

Councilman Gaudet says the city parish's attorney's office is working with people who need help relocating and urges those in need to call 225-389-3114.


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