Tania Dall / Eyewitness News
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CHALMETTE, La. -- Water and sewer rates in St. Bernard Parish could be going up.

The parish council is considering a 34 percent rate hike that's being proposed to improve the parish's aging water system.

The parish hasn't had a sewer and water hike in about 17 years. Now the parish says it's time to do just that in an effort to combat an aging infrastructure that's led to some major health problems.

The parish has been struggling with a water system riddled with crumbling cast iron pipes, rust and a health scare after the water supply tested positive for a brain eating amoeba connected to two deaths.

The parish was forced to use extensive chlorine in its water lines to kill the amoeba.

Parish officials say if passed, the rate hike would mean an extra $1.6 million per year to help tackle a $3 million deficit.

The average bill could go up by $10 to $15 per month. Councilman Ray Lauga, who introduced the resolution, said a rake hike is long overdue in St. Bernard Parish.

Councilman Ray Lauga said the plan moving forward is to have an independent third party hired to evaluate any possible water and sewer rate hike.

There's no timeline on when that's expected to happen or when a final vote might be scheduled.

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