Parish takes on LaPlace water troubles

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 5, 2013

By David Vitrano

LAPLACE – LaPlace’s well-publicized water problems may finally be easing somewhat as the Parish Council recently gave the OK to a project that would connect its water line to that of St. Charles Parish.
A contract in the amount of $74,460 was awarded to WSG Contractors for the project, which will link the two water systems along River Road in Montz. The project is somewhat complicated by the fact that St. Charles Parish’s water line there is 8 inches while the line it will be connecting to in LaPlace is 12 inches.
Work on the project will begin once Mississippi River water levels decrease to 11 feet at the Carrollton Station. Officials have estimated that will happen June 18. The project should take 60 days from that point to complete.
According to parish administration this project is an interim measure to provide water to LaPlace should there be an interruption of service from the Ruddock wells, as happened during Hurricane Isaac.
Other interim plans include installing a new pump and rehabilitating an existing pump in Ruddock, reconnecting LaPlace to and updating the Lions water treatment facility and replacing valves on the four elevated storage tanks.
The parish is also exploring more permanent solutions to the matter.
At the most recent council meeting, Rob Delaune of Digital Engineering presented finding of a study done on the parish’s water system and its deficiencies.
The presentation found that possible long-term solutions to LaPlace’s water troubles include digging a new well in Ruddock, building a new facility that would draw water from the Mississippi River or updating and expanding the Lions water treatment facility to serve the LaPlace area.
The parish is now conducting further studies to determine which of these options would be most feasible and cost effective.
“Each project has to be evaluated for cost, for time,” said Parish President Natalie Robottom.
Water was also the topic of concerned citizen Burt Cashio’s remarks to the council.
He came to complain about the flooding he and his neighbors experienced during Hurricane Isaac.
He said, unlike those in LaPlace north of Airline Highway who saw floodwaters pour in from Lakes Pontchartrain and Maurepas, his neighborhood flooded because of clogged drains and culverts.
“We flooded from waters that came from the fields,” he said. “Why is nothing being done to clear the canals in Garyville?”
Parish administration said it will look into the issue, but some of the problems have come about because the parish can do nothing to the culverts at railroad tracks with permission.
“The railroad has been willing to work with us on that issue,” said Director of Public Works Brian Nunes.
Lastly, the much-delayed West Bank Farmers Market project was finally set back in motion last week as the council agreed to advertise for bids for the construction of the market.