Port offers St. John Council idea for sewer solution

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 27, 2005


Staff Reporter

LAPLACE — A new possibility to solve sewer problems in St. John Parish was brought before the Parish Council at last night’s meeting.

The Port of South Louisiana has offered the Parish use of its sewer pond, and donation of its elevated water tower, in a proposal that could bring a short-term solution to the ongoing sewer problems facing the Parish.

The council was scheduled to discuss the offer at last night’s meeting, which finished after press time for L’Observateur.

“I went to a meeting on July 14 with the Port of South Louisiana Director Judge Chaisson and Assistant Director Henry Sullivan,” said Councilman Allen St. Pierre. “At that meeting, Chaisson offered the use of the ponds, with two agreements. One would be the Parish pick up the $12,000 monthly bond payments for the next four years and a limit of four years to use the ponds.”

The bond payments used to be paid by the Parish. There used to be a sock facility located on West 10th Street in Reserve called Baker Heritage Inc., which the Parish owned and paid monthly bond payments on.

“The building was Port land, said Sullivan. “The Port bought the building from the Parish around six or seven years ago and agreed to make the $12,000 monthly bond payments for that building. The ponds have been dormant for at least four years.”

The building was purchased on Jan. 29, 1999, by the Port and the bond payments have to be paid until Dec. 31, 2012, according to St. John Parish Director of Finance Jeff Clement.

“Using the ponds would mean the Parish would have to take over the payments again, at least for the next four years,” St. Pierre said. “There will be other fees on top of the $12,000 for electrical reasons, so those things will have to be addressed.”

The Pepsi Cola Plant used to utilize the ponds at the Port site several years ago, but due to high levels of biochemical oxygen demand, the plant needed to move somewhere else. Pepsi Cola wanted to move into the St. John Parish system and in order to do that, they had to install a pre-treatment to take care of the high levels of B.O.D. The Parish accepted after it was treated and the ponds at the Port have become available, according to St. Pierre.

“The pond will hold around 250,000 to 300,000 gallons per day,” St. Pierre said. “This will be a short-term solution, taking some of the load off the River Road Plant. The pond also has two pumps that would discharge sewerage through six inch out fall line going to the river.”

Also discussed, was a 100,000-gallon water storage tank, located next to Railroad Avenue on the facility grounds.

“The tank would be donated at no cost, along with available fire pumps,” St. Pierre said. “The water tank would be activated to take care of water problems during emergency situations for Rosenwald, Star Terrace and other surrounding areas in the neighborhood.”

St. Pierre has sent out letters on this matter, as well as a four-point plan addressing an alternative to resolve the parish’s sewer problems.

The four points are:

€For the Parish to continue smoke testing the lines and make all necessary repairs throughout the Parish and the private sector of the Parish that contributes to storm water in the system.

€Investigate Parish treatment capacity and find out requirements and what is needed.

€Decide the pros and cons on redesigning the oxidation pond in Reserve, mechanical plant on the oxidation pond site, upgrading the River Road Plant by adding capacity and the pros and cons of a regional plant, which is now under study. St. Pierre said all short-term problems in all sections of the Parish must be addressed before moving on to the regional plant.

€The last point was to possibly expropriate space in the Woodland Plant, which is an assessment plant, because the Parish is spending many dollars to maintain this plant.

After many discussions concerning diverting sewerage from the River Road Plant to Woodland Plant, parties have come together and negotiated buying in to the plant, but landowners and residents who have bought in to the plant have opposed, according to St. Pierre.

St. Pierre said he hopes that these points will be taken into consideration in order to help alleviate the serious sewer problems in St. John Parish.