Southwest Ouachita Waterworks now providing cleaner, safer water

OUACHITA PARISH, La. (KNOE) - Some homes in Ouachita Parish now have cleaner tap water.

Southwest Ouachita Waterworks is now using carbon filters for 84 percent of its users.

Carbon filtering essentially uses carbon to remove the contaminants, instead of doing it by adding more chemicals. The result is cleaner, safer water.

The starting water sample coming directly from the well is brown. The old system's water was cloudy. But the new carbon filtered water is clear.

"Right now I’d say it went from a brownish tint to a really clear water,” described Walter Kelley, President of the Board of Directors of Southwest Ouachita Waterworks

Kelley says it's a project they've been working on for almost six years now, and phase one is complete.

"It makes me feel good that we have good clean water for our customers. That's been a goal of mine since I’ve been on this board," he says.

Kelley says people should be able to see, smell, and taste the difference, which they do.

"I've definitely noticed a difference in the water," Kenneth Waggoner says.

Waggoner says he noticed it right away.

"It's been about a week now,” he says. “I went in there to draw a bathtub and the water was clear. It didn't smell like chlorine like it used to."

Kelley says the next step is providing carbon filtered water to the remaining 16 percent of customers.

The final price tag for the project is about $4.5 million, but water rates aren't going up because a 2015 water rate increase is already paying for it.

"We feel like we will not have to raise rates right now because we have enough funding and money from the rate increase that we can pay for both parts of this and still have some leftover for the other projects that we need to do," Kelley says.

Phase two is already underway.

Kelley says the entire project should be completed by the end of the year.