Water improvement on tap

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 30, 2007


Staff Reporter

LAPLACE – The people of St. John the Baptist Parish will soon begin to enjoy the better quality tap water that has been promised to them for so long.

At Tuesday’s Parish Council meeting, St. John Parish Engineer Chuck Savoie announced that the final components of the $3.3 million treatment plant were fully installed and awaiting a walkthrough by officials from Montgomery Watson Harza (MWH), the engineering firm tied to the project.

Savoie said MWH officials inspected all aspects of the plant Thursday to ensure each component was installed properly. He said a pressure test, using chlorinated water, would be performed the following day to check for leaks in the pipes.

&#8220Once we get the OK from the first pressure test, representatives from GE will come in Monday to install the filters,” said Savoie. &#8220After that, we will run one more pressure test, which will run non-chlorinated water through the system.”

Before the second pressure test, the parish will have to drain all the chlorinated water from the system, which could take a few days, Savoie said.

&#8220Ten miles of 24-inch pipe is a lot of water,” said Savoie. &#8220There are also tanks full of water that have to be emptied, so it will take some time.”

Savoie would not give an exact date that residents could expect the improved water but said he is optimistic that everything will be completely online in about a week.

According to the Department of Health and Hospitals, the parish had been ordered in 1998 to comply with an Environmental Protection Agency Act that limited the levels of total trihalomethanes (TTHMs), a proven cancer-causing agent, from 100 parts per million to 80 parts per million. Savoie said the facility would produce crystal clear water with approximately 40 parts per million of TTHMs.

Ray Rials, an engineer with MWH, said the project has suffered countless delays in production and delivery of components. He has appreciated the patience and support the council has offered.

&#8220We see the light at the end of the tunnel, and it is not a train,” said Rials to the council. &#8220It is going to be a very nice system when it is in, and we hope to have a happy Halloween for you.”