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|Aldermen receive report aimed at saving Sparta|
The West Monroe Board of Aldermen reviewed a presentation on a proposed filtration system for the city's wastewater treatment plant.
The filtration system could assist the city of West Monroe and Graphic Packing in their efforts to remove Graphic Packaging from the Sparta Aquifer in two years.
The presentation was presented to the board of aldermen Tuesday night at its regular meeting. It was prepared by the local engineering firm Ford, Bacon and Davis, detailing precise costs of construction and maintenance for the facility.
"Right now, we know for sure that it would treat about 8 million (gallons of water) a day to send to Graphic Packaging," said Terry Emory, West Monroe's environmental quality manager.
Emory said the filtration system could supply Graphic Packaging with most of its water needs within two years.
The proposal entails building a series of 12 filtration systems covering six acres at the existing West Monroe wastewater treatment facility near the Ouachita River. The facility would process sewer water for use in industrial processes -- namely, Graphic Packaging.
The planned construction would also be scalable, meaning additional filters could be added to recycle more wastewater. That's important because it means Graphic Packaging could completely cease drawing water out of the Sparta Aquifer.
The filtration system could be used to eliminate the 10 million gallons of water Graphic Packaging uses from the aquifer, Emory said.
Also, officials at Graphic Packaging are exploring ways to reduce water usage.
West Monroe Mayor Dave Norris applauded the proposal and said he had been told by state officials that West Monroe's plan was unique.
Though many northern Louisiana parishes have expressed concern about the state of the Sparta Aquifer, which stretches throughout north central Louisiana, Norris said officials told him few municipalities were actually doing anything to alleviate strain on the Sparta.
Norris told aldermen he would present the Ford, Bacon and Davis report to state lawmakers and environmental officials for possible funding.
Emory said other funding sources would be explored if the state would not agree to build the project.
"One way or the other, we have got to see this project walk so that we can conserve our Sparta water, our drinking water, for all of the parishes concerned," Emory said.
Graphic Packaging could begin using wastewater in its production process within two years.
The move would free Graphic Packaging from using the Sparta Aquifer.
Graphic Packaging currently draws 10 million gallons of water per day from the Sparta Aquifer.
For years, Graphic Packaging and the city have been working to find ways to reduce the amount of water the company uses from the aquifer.
They say their best bet is the wastewater recycling project, which has been estimated to cost about $20 million.
Currently, the city is working with John Stamberg, vice president of Energy Ventures Analysis of Arlington, Va., in testing the filtration system in hopes of showing state and federal governments why they should help fund the project.