Parish seeks funds for Edgard water plant

Published 12:00 am Monday, February 16, 2009


Staff Reporter

LAPLACE – St. John Council members voted Tuesday to allow parish administrators to apply for additional grant money to fund improvements to a raw water intake structure at the only water treatment plant on the West Bank.

St. John Public Information Officer Buddy Boe said the parish is seeking about $250,000 from the Delta Regional Authority Program, which provides money to local governments for basic infrastructure improvements, to go toward construction of a permanent intake pump mechanism at the Edgard treatment plant. The intake mechanism, which extracts raw water from the Mississippi River to be treated at the Edgard plant for public consumption, has been running on a diesel-powered pump since 2006, when the old structure collapsed.

“It’s a ‘third world’ operation that needs attention immediately,” said Boe. “It has to be fixed, it needs to be fixed and it will be fixed.”

In addition to the Delta Regional grant, Boe said the parish has collected $436,800 in Louisiana Government Assistance Program funds that will go toward the project. He said the parish would be responsible for any other funding. Estimated cost of the projects stands at about $800,000.

The council declared a public emergency in December to expedite the bid process and get the project going as quickly as possible. Boe said that Boh Bros. Construction of New Orleans has been commissioned to do the work, but construction cannot begin until project receives approval from the Army Corps of Engineers.

“Any project that requires construction on the river side of the levee requires corps approval,” said Boe. “There are specific guidelines that must be followed, and we have gone back and forth with various changes. Our final application was submitted Monday, and we cannot move forward until it is approved.”

In other action from Tuesday’s meeting, the council finalized an agreement between the parish and Wal-Mart pertaining to recent improvements to Carrollwood Drive in LaPlace.

Boe said the agreement confirms the parish’s acceptance of $150,000 worth of funding from Wal-Mart for completion of the project and states that Wal-Mart cannot be held liable for future improvements to the road. The agreement also says that the parish cannot deny Wal-Mart access to the new road.