New parish water is oh so close….parish officials swear

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 3, 2008


Staff Reporter

LAPLACE – St. John officials say that one final snag is preventing the parish from enjoying the much-anticipated higher quality tap water that has been promised for so long.

Parish Engineer Chuck Savoie told the St. John Council Tuesday that a wastewater valve is needed so that operators can run ultra-chlorinated water through the $3.3 million Nano Filtration system to sterilize it and make it ready for use. He said the valve would allow operators to flush the chemically treated water out without it running through the complete water system.

“You know the phrase ‘so close you can taste it,’ well we are right about there,” Savoie told the council. “Only we can’t actually taste it yet.”

St. John Public Information Officer Buddy Boe said when representatives from General Electric, the designers of the filtration system, came down to conduct tests and walkthroughs, it was determined that the system needed the wastewater valve. He said it is frustrating to be so close, but installing the valve now would benefit the system in the long run.

“It will be a great relief to the administration when we can get this tap water flowing,” said Boe.

Boe said the “T-valve” component was ordered this past week, and should be delivered by sometime next week. He said once it is installed, GE will return to finish their tests of the system.

Boe said GE is scheduled to be back by June 9, and it will be about two weeks from there before the system can be turned on.

“We are optimistic that the system will be online by mid to late June,” said Boe. “The sooner, the better.”

The filtration plant has been in the works since 2004, after the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Health and Hospitals, and the Department of Environmental Quality, implemented mandates that the parish take measures to remove harmful chemicals from the parish’s tap water. High levels of chlorine and triahlomenthanes (THM) had been added to the tap water to get rid of unpleasant discolorations that have plagued the tap water for years. The chemicals do a good job of eliminating the discoloration, but leave behind a disagreeable taste.

Once it is operational, parish officials say the filtration system will eliminate the discolorations and the chemicals in a sanity manner, and also produce better tasting tap water.