$200K set to examine St. John water

Published 11:45 pm Friday, August 15, 2014

By Monique Roth

LAPLACE — Parish officials have committed to spending over $200,000 to study possible avenues and options in improving the water system in LaPlace.

The St. John the Baptist Parish Finance Committee approved a $209,648 contract with Digital Engineering and Imaging, Inc. this week for conceptual engineering of an alternate water source in an effort to make needed improvements to the LaPlace water system.

Communications Director Paige Falgoust said the contract is for the examination of six specific tasks related to a possible new water source from the Mississippi River for LaPlace residents.

DEI will study the six water-related issues and report back to the parish on pros and cons, cost estimates and other information vital for parish administration and the St. John Parish Council to have in order to make decisions about where and how dollars should be spent on future water projects.

The areas of study include the building and installation of a new water intake pump station on the Mississippi River in LaPlace, modifications to the Lions Water Treatment Plant and a new distribution pump station and transmission main from Lions Plant to LaPlace.

Falgoust said the study is expected to be completed within five months.

She said the studied tasks will facilitate a decision for improvements to the LaPlace Water System based on the latest technology, costs and a timeline for completion.

Parish President Natalie Robottom said she and other administrative officials would work diligently to identify possible funding sources for future improvements, saying there is no reason to wait until the study is complete to start securing funding.

A workshop was held this month with Council members and the Water Infrastructure Committee to provide a broader understanding of current conditions and future challenges associated with all parish water systems.

“I look forward to continuing to work towards a reliable water system for St. John the Baptist Parish with the Water Infrastructure Committee,” Virgil Rayneri, Utilities Director and member of the Water Infrastructure Committee, said.

The Water Infrastructure Committee includes representatives from parish administrative staff, the Utilities Department, the parish engineer, DEI and CDM Smith.

The committee was charged with evaluating existing water systems and developing short, intermediate and long-range action plans.

Within the last year, the St. John Parish Utilities Department has installed a 12-inch connection to the St. Charles Parish water system for emergencies, televised and inspected well casing of well two at Ruddock, completed a pump replacement and pump rehabilitation at well two in Ruddock and replaced altitude valves at four elevated storage tanks.

The Utilities Department is currently working on a second waterline connection on River Road in Reserve, which will allow for additional back up during emergencies.