Sewer plant sites reviewed by St. John Council

Published 12:00 am Monday, June 20, 2005


Staff Reporter

LAPLACE — A presentation was given Tuesday night at the St. John the Baptist Parish Council meeting by Parish consultant Engineer Mike Patorno of URS Corporation, of possible sites for the regional waste water treatment plant.

At the May 24 council meeting, Councilman Ronnie Smith recommended at least three sites in descending order be presented to the council in order to get a move on the continuous sewer problems in St. John Parish.

Patorno, along with Utility Director Ralph Bean and Parish Engineer C.J. Savoie, proposed that they will “utilize the most feasible site which best benefits the Parish to accommodate the current and future wastewater needs of the Parish.”

The sites included a Pond and Pond South site in Reserve, Regala Park Reserve and Belle Point in Reserve.

Patorno listed advantages and disadvantages to each site, but in the end the numbers for the cost of each came close together at around $10 million each.

“We are trying to solve as many problems as fast as we can, ” Bean said. “Everyone has an opinion and with good points. My only hope is that we can get it done as quickly as possible, so the next season doesn’t turn into another one like this.”

Two other sites mentioned were near the existing River Road Treatment Plant and the land Attorney Daniel Becnel Jr. offered. Patorno stated many disadvantages to construct near the existing plant, concluding that it probably will not be considered.

The land offered by Becnel is no longer available, after giving 14 days to the parish to make a decision.

“Becnel took the offer off the table,” shouted Councilman Steve Lee. “I never received anything in writing. No formal offer. None of us did.”

After the presentation, Smith asked Parish President Nickie Monica to give his recommendation of which site would be best for the regional sewer plant.

Monica came to the podium and stood there in silence for a few minutes then said, “Well, you see the numbers just as I did.” He then paused as the crowd shouted out, “He doesn’t even have an answer!”

Smith then encouraged Monica to give the council some kind of answer in order to get started on solving this problem. Monica finally responded, “I need two weeks.”

Smith agreed as long as he did have an answer for the June 28 meeting.

Lee suggested the item stay on the agenda until a decision was made on the site for the plant.

The other council agreed a decision needs to be made soon, but will not put a moratorium on any new construction.