Greater Ouachita Water Company is looking for a buyer. Ouachita Parish Police Jury President Scotty Robinson says GOWC’s roughly 25,000 customers have been dealing with discolored water and billing errors for years. He says OPPJ has a say in who the buyer will be because they have a member on GOWC’s executive board.
“Their pipes and lines and assets are within the right of ways of the parish. So if Greater Ouachita decides we found the company and we want to sell to this company, they do have to come before the police jury,” Robinson said.
Robinson says customers have had billing errors because the meter readers, Severn Trent Services, would bill customers for the minimum usage monthly without reading the meter, and customers would later get a year’s worth of bills for their actual usage all at once. But he says the quality of the water is sometimes worse than the cost.
“They put a food grade polymer into the water to take the color out of it, to make it not smell, and the polymer was sticking to the filters and seeping through. That’s what was discoloring the water, and people were getting some sludge and some slimy stuff,” Robinson said.
Robinson says Ouachita parish residents have been receptive to the idea of selling GOWC to another company. After years of dealing with these issues, he believes many would welcome a change. He says in a buyer, they’re looking for a company that’s good for the citizens and good for the parish.
“I want the company coming in to be financially stable, understand the needs of the area, and be able to service the current system, upgrade it, update it. I want someone who will come in here and be willing to invest in the water infrastructure in Ouachita Parish,” Robinson said.