Sunday, January 7, 2018

Shreveport Water Department Woes Continue

Pooling water from meter leak
Nothing to see here.

Shreveport is doing just fine: we defeated a sports complex and allowed Uber in.  That's only two of our "accomplishments" touted by city officials as 2017 closed.

And Mayor Tyler touted infrastructure:

Shreveport Mayor Ollie Tyler cited major infrastructure improvements — including 69 new street projects totaling $12.1 million and and an additional $143 million on sewer improvements — as a top accomplishment for 2017.


And the politicians looks to the future:

As far as next year, Councilman Willie Bradford pointed to a long laundry list of upcoming endeavors that will require significant attention from city leaders— including "crime, economic disparity, a dying inner-city, white and middle class flight, and a loss of faith in our city government."

Meanwhile, our city administration is under investigation.

Elliott Stonecipher writes this morning at Real Shreveport about the article in the Shreveport Times print edition by Lex Talamo regarding the corruption and mismanagement at City Hall, specifically the water department.

I'd link to the Times article but as of this writing it is not in the digital edition (which makes me question why I'm paying for that...).

You'll have to read Stonecipher's report:

While the article does, in fact, include details about 1998-2006 Shreveport Mayor Keith Hightower, it also mentions the involvement of those in the 2006-2014 double-term of Mayor Cedric Glover and the current administration of Mayor Ollie Tyler.  
 The Times report clearly intends the article to focus public attention on Keith Hightower, along with Michael Wainwright and Scott Pernici.The three are well-known among locals who care as major political players over recent decades, often as a trio.  
Their 2016 lawsuit against the City of Shreveport over water service under-billing triggered the subject events and investigation.

It's a nasty tangled web and far above my pay grade. And here is the KSLA report from October 2017 about the internal auditor report of the water department which found high risk levels of fraud and abuse.  Here is the KTBS report.

Meanwhile the city's infrastructure crumbles.

The recent cold weather and sub-freezing temperatures exacerbated the problem as water mains burst all over town. Add this to the crumbling city pipes going to residential water meters and we are soon to be a city with major utility problems.

On our street alone there is one meter-leak that has been seeping water into the street and pooling at the ends of driveways for several months.  It was called in several times before the city came out and
put sticks and tape around it, did some spray painting in the street, and went away.

After the freeze last week, another meter three houses down started leaking.  Water is pooling onto the sidewalk.

The city has been called twice on this latest leak.

I spoke to a one water department employee who came out to test the pressure on a hydrant (which made the meter leaks even worse) who said there are "so many busted pipes all over town" there is no way to keep up.

It's not likely to improve. Consider this report from Lex Talamo dated September 2017:
The city's sole water treatment facility is sometimes stretched to capacity and operates, at peak, below its original capacity by 12 million gallons of water per day.  
Cross Lake, which supplies water to the water treatment facility, needs an estimated $200 million in upgrades, including to fight invasive species such as Giant Salvinia. Cross Lake Dam, which stores water for the facility, needs up to $18 million for repairs.  
The city has met its deadlines so far in completing work under a federal order requiring $500 million in fixes to city sewers. But now the work gets more difficult and expensive. A source of funding has not been identified.  
All told, the infrastructure maintenance, repair and upgrade bill facing city government is around $1.5 billion — the result of paltry appropriations for decades.
Meanwhile, our city officials are patting themselves on the back for a job well done.

Further reading:
Shreveport/Caddo Leaders Reflect on Accomplishments
Two Investigations into Shreveport's Water Department
Shreveport Times City Hall Corruption Report a Must Read
Audit: High-Risk Levels of Fraud, Abuse at Shreveport Water Department
Report to the City Council by the City Internal Auditor

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