St. John using GPS to map drainage system

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 12, 2013

By Richard Meek
Contributing Writer
EDGARD – Residents of Cambridge subdivision should notice film crews in the area, but don’t expect to see A-listers roaming down St. Andrews.
Rather, crews are marking sewerage drains in the area as well as operating remote cameras to determine which culverts are clogged and need to be cleaned with the parish’s sole vacuum truck.
St. John the Baptist Parish Public Works Director Brian Nunes, told council members Tuesday night the crews will also be completing similar work in the River Forest and Foxwood subdivisions.
“They are helping us map our drainage system,” said Nunes, adding they are marking the drains by using a GPS system.
He said some drains are so clogged with building materials and other debris the cameras are unable to take any useful video.
“Where they can get in, they get in,” he said. “They are filming the entire length of the culverts.”
In response to a question, Nunes said a crew is sent ahead to film and identify problem culverts, with follow-up crews blowing out the clogged drains.
 “We don’t’ work to work harder, just smarter,” Nunes said. “If we have many (work orders or problem) in the same area we will stay there. We (complete) as many as we can instead of jumping around.”
Parish President Natalie Robottom said the work is somewhat meticulous to ensure it follows FEMA guidelines since FEMA is picking up the tab.
“FEMA wants to see (the clogged culvers) to justify paying to clean them out,” she said.
She also said she is planning to meet with railroad officials to expedite much needed work around the railroad tracks. Councilman Lucien Gauff III noted the lengthy delays in completing the work, which includes several drainage issues.
“The system is not working,” Robottom admitted.
In other council news, Jaclyn Hotard was elected chairman, replacing Gauff. Hotard had been serving as vice chairman and chairman of the Finance Committee.
Council member Cheryl Millet was elected chair of the Finance Committee.