New Pleasure Bend water source needed

Published 12:11 am Saturday, November 26, 2016

Residents in the Pleasure Bend area may soon be receiving water from a new source that could ultimately be cheaper for parish officials as well as satisfy compliance demands from the state Department of Health.

St. John the Baptist Council members authorized parish officials to enter into an agreement with Environmental Engineering Services of LaPlace to help design a system that would allow water from an existing well that is currently not in use to provide water to Pleasure Bend.

Currently, the source of water for that area is being purchased from St. James Parish, which has proved to be costly as well as receiving water not always in compliance with required water quality standards, forcing St. John Parish to spend money for additional treatment.

“We have met numerous times with (St. James) officials and have reviewed and made recommendations but have not been successful,” Parish President Natalie Robottom said Tuesday. “At this point, the well is the only option to providing water that is in compliance.”

Robottom explained one of the issues is an insufficient amount of chlorine in the water being purchased from St. James. She noted the lengthy distance the water must travel could be causing the problem.

Shortly before Tuesday’s Council meeting, Robottom said the parish received an administrative order from the state to have a plan in place within 30 days to have a new system designed that would put the water in compliance with health standards.

Consequently, the proposal to enter into a contract with Environmental Engineering Services became even more pressing because of what would have been an impossible timeline had the motion been delayed, as was briefly discussed.

Director of Utilities Blake Fogleman said the parish must provide a detailed plan certified by a professional engineer to correct the problem. Robottom added Environmental Engineering Services would design the plan and submit it to the Department of Health, which might approve or reject it for additional revision.

“Just because we believe this is the best plan does not mean (the health department) will approve it,” she said.

“We were ahead of the game,” Robottom added. “We were anticipating having to do this.”

Fogleman said water has been tested at the well and after a few treatments to address certain problems “it will be ready to go.”

Implementing the new water system costs $640,000, which includes design fees of nearly $90,000.

In other business this week, an ordinance introducing the annual operating budget was tabled for the second consecutive meeting as Council members meet with parish officials.

The administration did not immediately respond to a L’OBSERVATEUR request for an overview of the proposed budget.

Once adopted, the new budget goes into action Jan. 1. The Council’s next meeting is scheduled Dec. 13.

— By Richard Meek