Monroe residents James Woodall and Fred McGirt say the most dangerous thing on their street -- is the water: "The water is so bad if you make Kool-aid with it you can't tell the flavor of Kool-aid--now that says it's all," said Presidential Estates resident Fred McGirt. That was Fred McGirt almost two years ago. He says nothing has changed -- his water is still awful.
Now the man that supplies water to both men and more than 7,000 other households in Northeast Louisiana has been arrested. The EPA says it's been after Jeff Pruett since July 2007, when they found he was violating the Safe Drinking Water Act -- the most fundamental law that ensures drinking water is clean.
But today, Pruett was arrested at his office for breaking another federal law, the clean water act. The EPA says Pruett has been dumping raw sewage into waterways throughout the area -- breaking the highest level of federal law.
Over the years, NBC 10 News has done story after story about Jeff Pruett, investigating complaints that his water is unsafe. This was Pruett's response in November 2007: "We are going to do whatever the law says we are going to do". Then again four months later: "We are going to do everything on their list that they've ordered us to do".
But the EPA says Pruett's words were empty -- and he would consistently evade them while ignoring their demands for him to obey the law. Today, customers like Fred McGirt say Pruett's arrest is a relief. But as Jeff Pruett awaits his criminal charges, Frank McGirt and many others will be waiting too. They say all they want is drinkable water. NBC 10 News did reach Jeff Pruett by phone. He declined to comment.