Shreveport is facing a serious hurdle on making improvements to our sewer system. The city is under a consent decree from the federal government to make repairs to the aging and dilapidated system.

getty images
getty images

In 2014, Shreveport entered into an agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ). This agreement requires the city to repair defects in the sanitary sewer system to eliminate sanitary sewer overflows. This work must be complete by November 12, 2026.

But Shreveport is way behind schedule on getting this work done. Mayor Tom Arceneaux says the city is facing a possible fine of $4 million dollars, but he is trying to negotiate an agreement with the feds to avoid the fine. The original price tag for this work was expected to be $350 million dollars, but the cost has gone up over the past 5 years and now will cost the city more than $1 billion dollars.

What Is the City Working On?

Shreveport’s sanitary sewer system consists of 1,100-miles of pipe and 120 pump (lift) stations. This infrastructure conveys untreated sewage through our city to two treatment facilities for processing.

City officials say "The sewer system is old and has deteriorated over time. Parts of it are undersized and in poor condition. Some of the pipes leak due to corrosion from sewer gases, cracking or breaking from shifting soil, or even stress from blockages within the pipe. These issues have caused sanitary sewer overflows (SSOs) to occur throughout our city. When this happens, untreated sewage can be released onto the ground or into waterways."

You can click here to see the progress of this work.

How Can Shreveport Pay for these Repairs?

The only realistic way to pay for these upgrades is through our water and sewer rates. We have been seeing increases over the years, but the city is not keeping up with the costs of these projects. KEEL News asked Mayor Tom Arceneaux if he will be considering an increase any time soon and he told us: "there is a good chance we are gonna have to look at that over the latter part of this year."

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