Former president puzzled on claim

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, February 4, 2003

DEAR EDITOR: I was surprised to learn from Nickie Monica, St. John’s Parish President, that improvements to the parish’s water system were only done during the past five years. Gee. I must have dreamed all the improvements that past council members and administrations did in the past.

When I took office in 1984 as parish president, St. John had two kinds of water, brown and none. If you had a two-story home, you couldn’t get water to the second floor. This situation was caused by the tremendous growth of the parish, beginning in 1980. The situation required a moratorium be placed on new construction. We immediately embarked on a water improvement project in 1984. These projects included the following:

1. New larger lines were installed throughout the parish.

2. Fire hydrants were placed every 500 feet.

3. An ordinance was enacted to require all developers to install proper size water lines and hydrants in their development.

4. Over three million gallons of water losses were eliminated. That was equal to the amount of water residents were using.

5. A second water well was drilled at Ruddock, designed to produce 3.5 million gallons a day. Actually, it can produce 4.5 million gallons when needed. A new well pumping station was added, and the pumps at the LaPlace pumping station were enlarged and upgraded.

6. A new larger second modern water line was installed from Ruddock to LaPlace.

7. The Lions water treatment plant was modernized and its capacity was increased from 2.5 million gallons to 3.5 million gallon.s

8. All water towers and tanks were upgraded and painted.

I could continue with improvements that were made but I think you get the idea. Records that I maintained to reflect water usage in the parish showed that in August months, LaPlace used 3.5 million gallons a day and Reserve/Garyville area used 1.7 million gallons a day. This totals 5.2 million gallons a day. From the two wells, we can easily produce five million gallons, and from the Lions plant, 3.5 million gallons. This amounts to 8.5 million gallons a day, an ample supply if water leaks are contained. Any time water usage rises above 5.3 million gallons a day, major leaks are occurring and should be repaired immediately.

I do agree that continuous water system improvement should be undertaken. The starting point is aeration of the wells, which would cool the water from the wells and improve the water quality. Also, a connection of the 12-inch water line between East 30th Street in Reserve to the 12-inch line in Milesville is needed.

I just touched on improvements that were made. I didn’t even cover what was done on the West Bank of the parish. Maybe I wasn’t dreaming these improvements actually happened.

Arnold J. Labat
Former parish president