St. John Council workshop discusses water line

Published 12:00 am Saturday, May 5, 2012



LAPLACE – After tabling the measure at a previous meeting, the St. John the Baptist Parish Council could vote Tuesday on an amendment to a contract with Environmental Engineering Services Inc. that would allow the LaPlace firm to construct an under-the-river water line connecting treatment plants on the east bank and west bank of the parish.

The water line would replace an existing plan to build a second clarifier at the Edgard water treatment plant to be used as a backup for an aging clarifier. Parish officials had argued that a second clarifier would not be needed because repairs to the existing clarifier should keep the unit running for another two to five years.

The waterline project was the topic of a council workshop held Thursday in LaPlace, where Environmental Engineering Services owner Oscar Boudreaux offered a presentation on the project.

“The line makes the Edgard plant more important,” Boudreaux said. “The plant is rated to produce 800,000 gallons per day, but it only uses about 400,000 gallons per day. It could be used as a backup in the event of a problem at the Lions water treatment plant and vice versa.”

The parish recently spent about $3.6 million on upgrades at the Lions Plant, which added a new filter, increased the size of the sludge pit and refurbished existing clarifiers. Parish President Natalie Robottom said in an email that the Lions Plant has river pumps that supply about 7 million gallons of water per day. Two clarifiers at the plant produce 5.5 million gallons of water per day and three distribution pumps produce about 6 million gallons per day. She said the plant has sufficient capacity to supply water to the west bank should the need arise.

Boudreaux said his firm would be able to either build a new clarifier or run the water line, but he recommends the water line because it gives the parish “more bang for its buck.” He said an additional clarifier does not increase capacity at the plant because they cannot be run at the same time. He said a second clarifier only provides redundancy in clarifiers and would not help if there is a problem with the water source or pumping system in the river. Each project would cost about $1.5 million.

The council meets Tuesday at 6 p.m. at the St. John the Baptist Courthouse in Edgard.