At a special call meeting Tuesday, members of the Rosepine Town Council met with Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH) officials to discuss exceedances and overflow problems with the town's water treatment plant.


At a special call meeting Tuesday, members of the Rosepine Town Council met with Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH) officials to discuss exceedances and overflow problems with the town's water treatment plant.
The town's sewer treatment plant, which was built in the 1970s, has been a hot topic among town officials, as it has been described as being too small to handle the town's current population.
"It's well overgrown what it's designed to hold," said Randy Kay, the Vernon Parish Sanitarian and one of two representatives from the DHH at Tuesday's meeting.
Chris Soileau, also of the DHH, asked whether the town had a ballpark figure for the project and also inquired as to whether the town had solidified any sort of funding for the project. Officials said that they were given a figure of $1.5 million for studies done by Pan-American Engineers, but later acknowledged that those plans did not include certain parts of the plant that also needed improvements.
Town officials also said that the town's engineer, Vernon Meyer, was trying to get the town some capital outlay funding from the state government, but that they would not know the outcome for at least three weeks.
Soileau said that the DHH, and the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) "didn't care" how much the project cost, or where the funding came from, just as long as improvements were made. Town officials also agreed with Soileau's remarks about the source of the funding.
"The source of funds is irrelevant," alderman Jeffery Solinsky said. "We need to get it done."
Solinsky also expressed concerns that the engineering side of the project "was not going fast enough," but later, officials agreed that they needed to ask Meyer to do a "top-to-bottom" analysis of the town's system.
"Everyone wants to know when, when, when?" Duvall said. "It's how?"
Soileau commended the town for even looking at increasing its water and sewer rates, but recommended that the town spend time educating the public on why the rate increase is necessary.
Kay also said that the town needed to look at individual properties when attempting to reduce the amount of excess water in the sewer system when it rains.
"You may even have people with their gutters hooked into your sewer," he said. "You have to make sure people aren't putting their storm water in your system."
Soileau also asked whether the town had additional ordinances in place dealing with the town's sewer and water systems, but town attorney Dennis Sumpter said that, to his knowledge, the only ordinances in place were those dealing with what a resident needs to do in order to connect to the sewer system.
Public Works Director Mike Numbers did say that the town has done three camera inspections of its sewer lines within the last five years, and each time, it has revealed that the lines were generally in good shape.
Soileau and Kay both told the council that the DHH would support the town as long as they continued to make forward progress in repairing the sewer system.
"Keep in mind, we're here to help you and support you," Kay said.
Kay and Soileau both praised Numbers, though, saying that the town was lucky to have an operator with his skill set.
"Mike Numbers is one of the best we deal with," Kay said.