Delta Beverage to discharge wastewater to parish system

Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 7, 2001


RESERVE – The St. John the Baptist Parish Council voted to allow Delta Beverage Co. in Reserve to begin dumping its wastewater in the St. John system at a special council meeting Tuesday night. Delta Beverage had an agreement with a Reserve refinery to handle its wastewater for years, and when the Port of South Louisiana purchased the refinery the contract remained, according to parish officials. After a biological imbalance occurred at their settling pond and lawsuits were filed, the port decided to get out of the business of handling wastewater. Delta is now building a $2 million treatment plant to pretreat the water before it goes into the St. John sewer system. The water must be pretreated so it can be brought down to an acceptable level before entering the system. After treatment, the water will transfer through underground pipes to the sewer system. Officials said the amount of water Delta will be dumping into the system is minute compared to the capacity the system can hold. The company, which buys parish water to make soft drinks, filters the water and sends the impurities back to the sewer system. The dirty water will go to one of the six parish treatment plants, which deposits the treated water into the Mississippi River. Delta will pay the parish an initial $30,000 and $2,500 each month to use parish pipes. According to Plant Manager Jack Pezelj, Delta would have had to build a $120,000 pipe system that led to the river if the parish had denied use of its pipes. “Delta Beverage has been a good neighbor and has hired quite a few people in the parish,” said Councilman Allen St. Pierre at the meeting. Councilman Duaine Duffy added, “We’re not giving away the whole farm. We’re helping a local business, helping Delta.” Though several council members were concerned the parish needs better planning and the issue was an emergency that had to be decided right away, as the port will stop handling Delta’s water by mid-April, the council approved the plan in a unanimous vote. Parish President Nickie Monica addressed the council and Delta representatives, stating the company has been a good corporate business in the area. According to Monica, 80 percent of Delta employees are St. John residents, and $6 million is spent on payroll annually. He also wanted to make it clear the sewer system is moving in the right direction. Garyville is only at 40 percent capacity, and the west bank has plenty of room for growth, he said. The money generated from the Delta permit will be put into a maintenance account and used to upgrade the system.