Council approves work to improve sewer system

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 28, 2012



LAPLACE – The St. John the Baptist Parish Council on Tuesday authorized the parish to seek bids on a pair of projects that are part of continued improvements to the parish’s sewer system.

The parish wants to replace and repair about 60 sewer manhole covers as part of the second phase of a parishwide project to reduce and eliminate the infiltration of rainwater into the wastewater collection system. Parish spokesperson Paige Braud said phase one of the program, which involved work on more than 400 manhole covers, began in 2010 and was completed in April.

“The work involved cleaning and coating the covers to create a better seal,” Braud said. “We also raised the level of more than 50 sewer covers that are positioned near parish drainage ditches and added a cement base. Anytime water accumulates it infiltrates the sewer lines causing unnecessary stress on the system.”

The parish used a $1.35 million loan to assist in funding the work, which also included repairs to aging terra cotta sewer pipes throughout LaPlace and Reserve that are cracked and allow water to infiltrate during heavy rain events in the parish. She said phase two would be funded by a similar low-interest loan through the state Department of Environmental Quality.

The second project out for bid deals with the installation of electronic parameters to assist with troubleshooting at about 50 sewer lift stations throughout the parish. Braud said the mechanism, known as telemetry, will help the utilities department minimize wastewater overflows.

“It is a mechanism similar to what is in use at most of our pumping stations,” Braud said. “When the water in the system fills up it signals when lift stations need to come on or go off as water flows through the system.”

Braud said the telemetry project is funded through the parishwide sewer construction fund, which has a budget of about $200,000 for 2012. She said both projects are scheduled for early 2013 completion.

In other action Tuesday, the council signed off on a certificate of substantial completion for a series of drainage improvements near St. Peter Church in Reserve.

The parish replaced and repositioned culverts in drainage canals that line the streets surrounding the church and addressed other drainage concerns in the area.

St. John Chief Administrative Officer Theresa Rodgers said minor roadwork on Ram Alley related to the project began Thursday and is expected to wrap up in about two weeks. She said the work was completed within the $2.3 million budget.

The council unanimously approved the repairs, but Councilman Ranney Wilson asked that the savings from the project be kept in the region for future repairs and issues.