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|OPPJ, water company to explore sewerage plan|
The Ouachita Parish Police Jury took another step toward developing a comprehensive sewerage treatment plan for eastern Ouachita Parish.
During Monday's regular meeting, police jurors voted to enter into a cooperative endeavor agreement with Greater Ouachita Water Co. to develop that plan.
Police juror Shane Smiley, who brought the matter before the police jury, said Greater Ouachita Water Co. has three treatment facilities in eastern Ouachita Parish, which the parish could tie into.
The intent in developing a comprehensive sewerage treatment plan in eastern Ouachita is to eliminate the smaller treatment systems scattered throughout the parish, which have been plagued with a lack of financial support and the ability to maintain the systems.
"Ultimately our goal would be to facilitate some type of comprehensive sewerage plan so the (police jury) districts would be tied together on the eastern side," Smiley said.
A similar project is being tackled in western Ouachita Parish. Efforts are under way to eliminate many of the smaller neighborhood treatment plants in Sewer District No. 16. The intent is to tie into Sewer District No. 5 and move effluent to the city of West Monroe's treatment plant.
Parish attorney Jay Mitchell said the cooperative endeavor agreement the police jury and Greater Ouachita Water Co. will enter is similar to the same agreement the parish entered into with the city of West Monroe and sewer operators in western Ouachita. Eventually, officials hope to facilitate the development of the Graphic Packaging wastewater treatment project.
That project involves taking Graphic Packaging off the Sparta Aquifer by allowing the company 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.
"It's a pretty broad-based agreement and gives either side the option to get out of the agreement at any time," Mitchell said of the police jury's agreement with Greater Ouachita Water Co.
"It leaves the door open to work with other entities, whether that's the city of Monroe, or whoever, as things develop," Mitchell added.
Police juror Dorth Blade said he was concerned about the plan because it could lead to a situation where one company has a monopoly on services.
"I am totally against parish-wide garbage, and I'm not sure about parish-wide water," Blade said. "When you put one individual in a position where he can dictate what's going on ….that's where I'm concerned."
Smiley said each citizen in each police jury district would have the option to tie into Greater Ouachita Water Co.'s sewer treatment facilities. It would not be mandatory, he said.
Mitchell clarified the agreement between the police jury and Greater Ouachita Water Co.
"It allows the parish and Greater Ouachita to work with other public and private districts, but there are no requirements that anybody tie into anything," Mitchell said. "It also doesn't create any new districts."
"The idea would be to start working together to get all the waste and bring it all ultimately to regional treatment plants," Mitchell explained. "We're trying to bring everybody together on the east side to reduce the number of places that are actually discharging treated sewerage into the streams."
Greater Ouachita Water Co. is willing to put forth some funding for the project, Mitchell said. The parish also could look at obtaining grant funding to develop plans for the project.