St. John finishes backup water supply work

Published 12:01 am Wednesday, April 20, 2016

LAPLACE — The recently completed Mississippi River Waterline Crossing Project will serve as a backup water supply to the Lions and Edgard Water Plants in St. John the Baptist Parish.

After more than two years of reviewing and working through planning, design and construction, to see the completed project is incredibly rewarding, Utilities Director Blake Fogleman said.

“We look forward to continuing to make enhancements to the water systems that will better serve residents for many years to come,” he said.

Funded in part by a $5.5 million Department of Health and Hospitals Loan, the project consists of a 12-inch waterline that will serve as a distribution line to Westbank, Reserve, Garyville and Mount Airy residents in the event of an emergency.

The $1.9 million project also satisfies the Department of Health and Hospitals’ requirement for redundancy at the Edgard Water Plant.

Beginning in November 2014, contractor Grady Crawford Construction Company worked on both sides of the Mississippi River batture near the Lions and Edgard Water Treatment Plants drilling 3,050 feet of pipe approximately 75 feet beneath the river.

With high water levels in the Mississippi River and rain-inundated seasons, construction was halted, delaying work; however, Parish President Natalie Robottom said the Utilities team were determined to see it through to completion.

The waterline under the River is a component of the Water Altitude Valve Project, which also included replacing valves, making upgrades to the water intake structure at the Lions Pump Station and replacing the old filters at the Lions Treatment Plant.

In 2013, a backup water supply for LaPlace was completed through an interconnecting waterline project which allows the Parish to receive 1 to 1.5 million gallons of water per day from St. Charles Parish in the event of a loss of water during emergencies.

“These highly awaited projects allow us to resolve water system emergencies with a lesser concern of residents losing water pressure for extended periods of time, as we have seen before,” Robottom said.

“I am very satisfied to see the advancements come to fruition.”