— Susan El Khoury (@SusanElKhoury) February 23, 2021
Comprehensive reporting here from Susan El Khoury of our news partner KARK on the continuing water calamity in Pine Bluff.
Liberty Utilities, the private operator, can’t restore water pressure. It believes there are line breaks it hasn’t found.
The results are horrific. They’ve created a water trough outside the county courthouse so people inside can haul buckets to flush toilets. All but the most severe medical cases are not being taken at Jefferson Regional Medical Center, where portable toilets and medical waste bags are substituting for normal plumbing. There’s been scant communication by the utility with customers. The Saracen Casino is closed, putting a gaping hole in city and county revenue flow.
The governor went down to Pine Bluff to show his concern. El Khoury reports that Attorney General Leslie Rutledge is also concerned. Oh, good. But if it was a bakery refusing to make a cake for a gay wedding; a power plant wanting to pump ash into the air, or a transgender girl seeking to play soccer on the girls’ team, Rutledge would have been on it with lawsuits and legislation like stink on excrement. Surprised she’s not defending the water company from government regulation.
She said later that her office would investigation, as will the state Public Service Commission, which regulates Liberty.
Here’s the PSC order which directs Liberty file a report by Thursday. It must report on what it is doing to identify the problem and steps being taken to fix it.