Robottom: $14.5M invested in water system upgrades

Published 12:01 am Saturday, November 21, 2015

Water system upgrades to fulfill historical administrative orders and new requirements set by the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals (LDHH) have been a priority for the last several years.

Since 2010, over $14.5 million have been invested in all three of the Parish’s water systems, as well as the system that feeds Pleasure Bend. Water tank/tower renovations, rehabilitation of ground storage tanks, elevation of storage tanks and installation of variable frequency drives, generators and altitude valves were completed across all water systems.

Water District #1, the Lions Water Treatment Plant, which serves Reserve, Garyville and Mt. Airy, saw the bulk of the work, including installation of additional filters and electrical components, Potable Water Line Crossing, Water Intake Line and UV Filters and improvements at the DuPont Booster Station.

The UV Disinfection System, funded through the 2010 Bond Issue and a LDHH low-interest loan, was installed to fulfill a LDHH requirement. The $647,000 project included installation of a dual UV light disinfection mount to improve the water treatment process. The light contributes to water disinfection by further eliminating pathogens. Having these dual components allows for redundancy and for continuous disinfection.

Plant operators can monitor the system electronically and view the strength of treatment occurring throughout the day.

I am extremely pleased that the Waterline under the Mississippi River project is in service, which will distribute water to residents on the east and/or west banks in the event of an emergency. Funded through a LDHH low-interest loan and the 2009 Bond Issue, this $1.8 million project also satisfied LDHH’s requirement for redundancy at the Edgard Water Plant. Before 2010, each water system was separate and apart from each other; however, through the work of a number of projects, operators are now able to distribute water to other areas if needed.

Water District #2, fed by the Edgard Water Treatment Plant on the West Bank, received more than $1 million in upgrades. The Edgard Water Plant Walkway, water line improvements and construction of a new Raw Water Intake Line were all completed. The West Bank also benefits from the Water Line Crossing under the river that connects with the Lions Water Plant.

The Ruddock Water System, which makes up Water District #3 and distributes water to LaPlace water customers is prone to tidal flooding and problems with the distribution line. Once operation of the Reverse Osmosis System was stabilized, over $700,000 was invested in filter, pump and electrical component replacements. A test well was installed in Pleasure Bend in an effort to secure a stable water source for residents in that area.

A water infrastructure committee was established to evaluate the Parish’s water systems and determine the best options for a new LaPlace water source. Options include making necessary improvements at the Lions Water Plant in Reserve ($11M), installing another intake pump on the river in LaPlace ($37M) or expanding the existing Lions plant in Reserve to supply to LaPlace ($34 M).

The long term plan and cost estimates are complete, and we are currently identifying additional funding to construct the projects. On an interim basis, the following action plans have been completed: Electricals at Well #2 have been raised, plans developed in the event of a power outage at Station #1 are complete, an interconnecting waterline to St. Charles was installed to allow the parish to receive 1 to 1.5 million gallons of water per day in the event of an emergency or hurricane, an additional connection between Ruddock and the Lions Water Plant was also made to ensure redundancy, and the Mississippi River Waterline Crossing Project is now in service.

Natalie Robottom is St. John the Baptist Parish President. She can be reached at