County residents unhappy with brown water, flooding danger issues

Posted on Nov 28 2016 - 11:21pm by Lyndy Berryhill

The Lafayette County Chancery Court boardroom filled with more than 50 people Monday night, where residents spoke out about having to drink brown water from the Punkin Water Association.

Members of the the Lafayette County Planning Commission as well as residents were concerned that with numerous complaints of brown-colored water and low water pressure in select areas, adding more housing units would make the issue worse.

Although some residents said they filtered the water they consumed, one man said he drank it and was fine.

More than four residents claimed they have tried to contact the Punkin Water Association but received no reply. The water association was not present at the meeting.

One resident said the situation has to be resolved because he is tired of his small children having to bathe in dirty water.

The board said the water is brown due to iron, which is present at nontoxic levels.

According to the Lafayette County Subdivision Regulations, it is the local government’s responsibility to ensure safety, health and general welfare of residents.

County Supervisor Kevin Frye said he is concerned that water pressure will not be reliable enough in case the fire department needs to put out flames in the area in case of an emergency.

The commission voted to table the two proposed developments of more than 60 housing units close to The Highlands subdivision. One of the proposals would have approved the construction of 31 units at The Cottages at The Highlands

The board also tabled the Pebble Creek development of 150 homes near The Lakes.

After residents warned the County Planning Commission of flooding dangers on Sept. 26, Chief Dusty Mires of the Dam Safety Division for the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality investigated the issue.

After a request from residents was sent to the department, Mires assessed the dam and found it was in poor condition. The levee also still posed a threat to homes if it broke.

Mires said out of the 5,600 residential dams in Mississippi, only 307 are in the same high-risk category as The Lakes dam.

Mires’ report stated there is water seeping through the dam’s levee and it has notable erosion as well as insufficient spillway passage. The levee is not prepared for excess rain, according to the estimated annual rainfall of Lafayette County.

Mires said he thinks the levee is not going to break or overflow in the near future.

Currently, The Lakes homeowners association is in the process of repairing the dam. However, the developer, Brantney Cox, told the commission he is uncertain if he wants to move forward.