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|OPPJ inks contract to study sewer district|
The Ouachita Parish Police Jury took the first step Monday toward eliminating West Ouachita Sewer District No. 16's neighborhood treatment plants.
The police jury, which also serves as Sewer District No. 16's board of commissioners, hired Lazenby & Associates to do an inventory of No. 16's individual sewer systems.
Kevin Crosby with Lazenby & Associates said work began Tuesday, and a report should be ready to submit to the police jury within 60 days. The police jury signed the $26,590 contract with Lazenby & Associates Monday during its regular meeting.
Crosby said Lazenby & Associates will look at the sewer systems within No. 16 that are owned by the police jury as well as those owned by other companies. Lazenby & Associates will create maps showing the locations of the existing sewer systems and discharge limits for each one.
"We'll see what shape they are in, how much it costs the parish to run each treatment plant, and if there have been any violations with DEQ," Crosby said. "The ultimate goal is to get rid of these package treatment systems in No. 16, and have the effluent transported through (Sewer District) No. 5 to the regional treatment plant operated by the city of West Monroe."
Parish attorney Jay Mitchell said, "The reason for looking at all of the plants (in No. 16), and not just the ones the district currently owns … is the idea to move that district to a single collection system like the one that has worked so well in (Sewer) District 5."
Juror Charles Jackson first brought the measure before the police jury in May when the jury decided to raise sewer rates for Sewer District No. 16.
Rates were raised from $22.50 a month to $30. The jury agreed to raise the rates since Sewer District No. 16 has a deficit.
Jackson said the new rates would not bring No. 16 to a break-even point, but it would get it close.
Sewer District No. 16 currently is operating with a $93,900 negative cash flow. The police jury must use money from its general fund to maintain operations.
Jackson said Lazenby & Associates' work "is really the first step that has to be done before we can go any further toward trying to take any of those neighborhood systems offline. Once this is done, the next step in the process would be a tie into Sewer District No. 5. That would allow us to take some of those systems offline, and move the effluent down to the city of West Monroe's treatment plant."
Jackson said the police jury could pursue state funding for this project since this process would provide effluent for West Monroe's efforts to remove Graphic Packaging off the Sparta Aquifer.
That project involves ongoing efforts to remove Graphic Packaging from the Sparta Aquifer by allowing it to use wastewater in its production process.
Treated water would be pumped into Graphic Packaging's plant in West Monroe. Graphic would use the treated water to help mitigate the 10 million gallons of water per day the plant currently draws from the Sparta.