St. Charles gets grant for wastewater system from federal program

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 14, 2004


Staff Reporter

HAHNVILLE – The Fiscal Year 2005 Omnibus Appropriations Bill, recently approved by the Senate, includes $400,000 for wastewater infrastructure improvements in St. Charles Parish, according to U.S. Senator Mary L. Landrieu (D-La).

Landrieu, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, included the funding in the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) annual budget. The funding will be used toward consolidating the West Bank Sewerage System at the Hahnville Wastewater Plant.

“There are too many communities in Louisiana who are struggling to meet stringent federal environmental standards without the funding needed to make the necessary improvements,” said Landrieu. “The parish has been struggling for several years with an inadequate wastewater treatment system and is working to comply with an EPA Administrative Order.”

Public Works Director Greg Bush said he submitted plans to the EPA more than two years ago, which addressed future regionalism of the West Bank.

Earlier this year, a Landrieu representative was accompanied by Bush, Laque and Parish Councilman Clayton “Snookie” Faucheux on a tour of the parish. The four men evaluated the parish’s sewerage problems.

“We drove in my vehicle to numerous locations throughout the Parish. We looked at collapsed manholes, future subdivisions, the (Hahnville Wastewater) plant and the Luling Oxidation Pond,” said Bush. “The idea was to increase capacity of the Hahnville plant. At that time, there were no results from the Comite study on the Wetland Assimilation Program.”

Earlier this year, the parish council approved a contract with Comite to pursue the Wetland Assimilation Program. The parish is presently in the process of obtaining a permit for the program. The permit process will take nine to twelve months. Once the parish secures the permit, they will be able to discharge sewerage into the wetlands.

“That gets the Luling Oxidation Pond out of the EPA Administrative Order,” said Bush.

Chief Administrative Officer Timothy Vial said the $400,000 will be used to consolidate the West Bank Sewerage at the Hahnville Wastewater Plant.

“The Luling Oxidation Pond cannot accommodate all of the parish’s future growth. We continually have expansion development in the parish. There are a number of areas that will have to go to the Hahnville Wastewater Plant,” said Vial. “We will use the money to further flows to the Hahnville treatment plant.”

According to Vial, the Hahnville Wastewater Plant treats sewerage for Hahnville, Des Allemands, Paradis and Bayou Gauche.

Ama has its own sewerage treatment plant. However, Ama will eventually consolidate its sewerage system with the Luling Oxidation Pond, said Vial.

The oxidation pond presently serves the Luling area.

“St. Charles Parish residents have been paying higher utility fees to help improve their wastewater treatment system, and I am pleased that this federal funding will assist them in this worthy and noble effort,” said Landrieu.

The $400,000 awarded through the appropriations bill is federal money that does not have to be paid back, said Vial.