DHH guidelines set for sewer upgrades

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 5, 2005


Staff Reporter

LAPLACE — Louisiana Department of Heath and Hospitals gave St. John the Baptist Parish a list of 15 guidelines on June 24 during a sewage system status meeting.

The 15 guidelines included five critical items and 10 items of concern.

“I like to keep things organized,” said DHH Region Three Engineer David Boggs. “We addressed all items on the list, because there was a lack of plan submission to the state. We want to monitor growth and we want things done in a professional and responsible manner.”

The top five critical items were LaPlace Park lift station being an inefficient design and can be solved by eliminating the above ground Gorman Rupp pump and replacing the two submersible pumps with larger pumps, costing $34,000.

Three other lift stations on Tiffany Drive in the New Era subdivision, on the corner of Homewood Street and train tracks and at the Reserve Oxidation Pond were listed. It was stated at the June 14 council meeting that a new lift station for Tiffany Drive had already been purchased.

The last item was an evaluation of the downstream lift station at the A3M pumper truck site that discharges 30,000 to 50,000 gallons per day of leachate and port-o-let waste.

At the St. John the Baptist Parish council meeting on Tuesday night, Parish Engineer C.J. Savoie stated that the DHH asked for a timeframe for these projects of two weeks.

“There is not really a deadline,” Boggs said. “It is mainly a way to gather information about what needs to be done in the Parish and to make sure everything is going the way it needs to in order to alleviate these problems. The River Road sewer treatment plant is grossly overloaded.”

Boggs said he recently received a letter from Parish President Nickie Monica stating that he wanted all future projects to go through the DHH.

“We cannot approve any more tie-in’s,” Boggs said. “Nothing to further increase the capacity of the plant. We all agree a building moratorium is a bad idea, so instead we suggest each and every construction have on-site treatment facilities that can later be connected to the regional sewer plant. After a new plant is built, these restrictions will change.”

Boggs said after several smoke tests, which is where a type of smoke bomb is thrown into the facility and the smoke literally comes through the cracks and leaks, and TV test, where a TV camera is pulled through the main sewer building, they realized what the problem was and what action needed to be taken to fix it.

The DHH did not know there was a sewer problem in the area until area residents complained. The DHH got involved, because there was a lack of communication between the Parish and the DHH, according to Boggs.

“We were not aware of a problem or what had already been fixed,” Boggs said. “We did not know how bad it was.”

Boggs said in defense of the Parish that they have done a lot of things and have been addressing problems. He said the Parish also checked every manhole and gave them a number showing which are in the worst shape.

“We did get complaints from residents,” Boggs said. “That is why we had the meeting. We did not know so much work had already been done about the problem.”

Participants in the meeting were DHH Chief Engineer Doug Vincent, DHH District Engineer Clyde Carlson, DHH Region Three Engineer David Boggs, Parish President Nickie Monica, Public Works Director Ralph Bean, Parish Engineer C.J. Savoie and URS Corp. Engineer Mike Paterno.