Grant for St. Charles filter improvements increases drainage efficiency, capacity

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 17, 2008

LULING – A $1 million grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency is set to help improve drainage during heavy rain events in the communities of Boutte and Luling.

The grant will help fund the installation of automated bar screen cleaners on the intake of the Cousins Canal pumping station in Luling. The cleaners keep trash and debris from plugging the intake, which allows the pump to operate at its maximum capacity of 414,000 gallons-per-minute during rain events. Debris can include tree limbs, leaves and lily pads.

St. Charles Parish Public Works Director Sam Scholle said the project would make easy work of a previously impossible task.

“Workers use hand-held raking devices and a long arm excavator to clean the fixed screens before and after rain events,” he said. “But high winds and lightning prevent the cleaning of screens during the actual rain event, when pump operation is most critical.”

Construction is expected to cost $3,556,300.

The new bar screen cleaners will also keep pump intake levels consistent. This ensures the pump runs at a more efficient pace.

“Without these bar screen cleaners, the pump will cycle on and off due to the varying water levels,” Scholle said. “That reduces the overall capacity of the pumping station and increases and risk of flooding streets and homes.”