Louisiana Record

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Louisiana residents file suit against water company

By John Severance | Apr 2, 2017

A suit was filed in Louisiana over unsafe drinking water. | homewaterworks.org

DONALDSONVILLE — Many Donaldsonville residents are not happy about the quality of water and have filed a class action suit against Peoples Water Service.

In their suit filed March 3, Courthouse News reported, the petitioners claimed the water service failed to take action or report chlorine-dioxide levels four to five times the standard in the water supply. The petitioners alleged the water company treated its supply with chlorine dioxide before distribution to customers. Chlorine dioxide is known to be harmful to humans at particular levels.

The petitioners claimed that at about 4 p.m. March 22, 2016, the Louisiana Department of Health notified Peoples to change treatment of drinking water because elevated levels of chlorine dioxide were found in the treatment system. Donaldsonville Mayor Leroy Sullivan declared a state of emergency that night.

They also claimed the water company failed to warn petitioners and those others of test result readings above acceptable levels from approximately September 2015 to March 2016.

''As it stands, the water supplied by Peoples is not safe to consume in any manner by drinking and/or cooking for use in cooking. As a proximate result, petitioners and those others similarly situated have been forced to use bottled water and have therefore incurred damages in connection with obtaining water,'' the suit said.

On March 23, 2016, Peoples issued a warning to residents: “Peoples Water is instructing its customers in Donaldsonville to not drink their water, effective immediately until further notice. Due to high levels of chlorine dioxide, residents should not drink, cook or ingest their water. Please go to a local retail/grocery store and purchase water for these purposes.’’

On March 26, 2016, the water was declared safe to drink after tests were reportedly done at five different sample sites.

Petitioners are looking for compensation from the following damages including “costs of and associated with obtaining another water source, inconvenience, fear and fright, mental anguish, discomfort, pain and suffering, emotional distress, medical and pharmaceutical costs and any other damages to be proven at trial.”

Listed on the petition were Horace Dorsey, Evelyn Dorsey, Brad Dorsey, Larry Rosemond, Dionelle Dorsey, Gardenia Taylor, Sterling Brooks, Blair Brooks, Carol Joshua, Idell Madison, Paul Madison, Tresa Winchester, Sharon Nicholas, Gerald Nicholas, Crystal Franklin and Malik Franklin.

Jeff Nicholson, a Baton Rouge attorney, filed the lawsuit for the residents.

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City of Donaldsonville