Student Support Service TRIO Program collects water for St. Joseph

Poor water service is not a new issue to the town of St. Joseph, Louisiana.

Dating back to the 1930s, the city has dealt with a contaminated water supply.

The water’s rusty tint comes from naturally occurring iron and manganese sediment in the underground well that has built up in the water lines over the years.

Unaltered pipelines have caused a high amount of lead, causing the water system to degrade.

Every time the system has to be shut down for repairs and restarted, sediment is injected into the water flow.

According to the website Al-Jazeera, the last detailed analysis of St. Joseph’s water in 2013 showed 32 times the EPA-recommended level of iron and nine times that of manganese.

Governor John Bel Edwards declared a state of emergency in 2016.

Because residents of St. Joseph are now supplied with three liters of water per day to run their daily lives, the ULM Student Support Services TRIO Program hosted a water drive for the residents.

Students, faculty and staff donated sealed gallons and liters of water, paper products such as cups, plates and utensils, hand sanitizer, baby wipes and cases of packed bottled water and heavy duty water carriers.

“The water drive will help ease the burden of getting water for home,” said Tommie Nelson, the outreach coach and retention specialist.

Nelson said the response for the drive was wonderful.

Residents of the Monroe community participated in the event as well.

Nelson further illustrated that they were collecting water bottles so that the victims could store water that they could use later. Also, disposable items were collected so that the water could be saved.