Saucier residents are wondering if their water is safe to drink - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Saucier residents are wondering if their water is safe to drink

I drove over to the Saucier Utilities building located off Highway 49 and manager Carlos Fernendez was in the office. He told me no one is getting paid at this time because their utility board doesn't have a quorum. (Photo source: WLOX) I drove over to the Saucier Utilities building located off Highway 49 and manager Carlos Fernendez was in the office. He told me no one is getting paid at this time because their utility board doesn't have a quorum. (Photo source: WLOX)
SAUCIER, MS (WLOX) -

Roy Kitchell and his wife, Carol, have been living in Saucier for 34 years, and he says they have been dealing with water utility issues. 

"The water bill is not being sent out properly. The rumor is the office is closed,” said Kitchell. “You can't make contact with them. So, I'm not sure what is going on. I'm not sure if our water is being tested properly."

It's hard to see Kitchell's water meter and that of his neighbor. Grass has grown over the meters. That makes Kitchell wonder if his meter has been read. 

I drove over to the Saucier Utilities building located off Highway 49 and manager Carlos Fernendez was in the office. He told me no one is getting paid at this time because their utility board doesn't have a quorum.

Fernendez said one board member resigned in March and the president and vice president stepped down on Monday and Tuesday. So, who's running the operations, and is the water safe to drink?

"Basically, we are working on our own time, without pay, at this point in time, "said Fernendez. "I can assure you, as the office manager and board secretary, that the testing has continued and will. Yes, there are some serious issues."  

Fernendez said those issues involve a legal matter that's heading to court.

Meanwhile, Fernendez has been in contact with the Public Service Commission to make sure, in the interim, the water utility is operating correctly. 

"I believe in being very honest and upcoming to the customers, so meters were not read for the month of July,” said Fernendez. “I have spoken to the Public Service Commissioner Monday morning with the issue of legal matters and bills being paid. He has assured me we are a public water company that power will not be cut to our wells."

Fernendez says once the PSC approves a flat rate, Saucier Utilities customers will all be paying the same fee until the legal issues are resolved.

"Each customer will be charged a minimum $15 for the month of July, "said Fernendez.

According to the State Health Department, water samples sent to them from Saucier Utilities are fine.

An emergency meeting of Saucier Utilities members will be held July 16, at 6 p.m., at the Harrison County Storm Shelter on Saucier-Lizana Road. According to Fernendez, it's imperative that all 617 members attend.  The members will appoint directors to fill the three open seats on the board. 

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