New pump may ease water problems

Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 29, 2000

ERIK SANZENBACH / L’Observateur / July 29, 2000

LAPLACE – The pumps at the Ruddock well are in desperate need of replacement, according to Henry DiFranco, director of public works and utilities in St. John the Baptist, and relief is on the way.LaPlace residents get their water from the Ruddock well, while the rest of the parish gets water from the Lions and Edgard plants.

At Ruddock there are two wells and two pumps, and the condition of the pumps is what concerns DiFranco.

Well No. 1, according to DiFranco, should be retired.”It is past its useful life,” said DiFranco. “It’s been running for 30 years,and we could lose it at any time.” Not only is the pump ready to die, but so is the well shaft.

Pump 1 pumps about 1,000 gallons per minute, while pump 2 generates 2,500 gallons per minute. Together they generate over six million gallonsof water per day, the present demand by LaPlace residents.

However, DiFranco said that because of the condition of pump 2 the parish is barely meeting the demand.

“Number 2 was only meant to be run 12 hours a day,” said DiFranco. “andwe are running it 24/7. It will only be a matter of time before it burnsout.”DiFranco said that pump 2 supplies 80 percent of the water used in LaPlace.

In order to solve the problem, DiFranco has ordered a new higher capacity pump and will install it within the next couple of weeks. The new pumpwill increase the water supply to 3,500 gallons per minute.

DiFranco said, “If we can increase our output by 1,000 gallons per minute and keep number one pump running, we will keep up with demand.”However, to replace the pump the water supply to LaPlace will have to be turned off for a couple of hours.

DiFranco hopes to minimize the inconvenience by doing the work at night.

DiFranco plans to fill the two water towers to capacity then work on replacing the pumps overnight. He said the wells should be up and runningby morning.

The time for the switch has not yet been decided.

“We’re just waiting for the pump to be shipped in,” said DiFranco Before the new pump is installed, DiFranco said the public will be informed of the change well ahead of time. He will put announcements ofthe water shut-off on Channel 55 and in the newspapers.

Council president Duaine Duffy said, “We have to do this; we have no other choice. It will cause some inconvenience, but it will get done.”DiFranco said this is only a temporary fix. As LaPlace grows, so does thedemand for water. With Well 1 beginning to collapse, the parish is willhave to look to other methods to get water into LaPlace.

DiFranco said the parish has three options. A new well can be excavatednorth of Ruddock, almost at the parish line, the parish could build a water plant for LaPlace on the Mississippi River or a booster pump could be built at the Reserve plant and water brought into LaPlace from there.

Whatever the options are for the future, DiFranco wants to assure LaPlace residents that at the present time, water will continue to flow.

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