East Bank water plant corroding, new tanks must be built to fix it

April 09, 2008 at 9:22 am  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

East Bank water plant corroding, new tanks must be built to fix it
An under-river pipe crossing currently under construction will help alleviate concerns about water infrastructure failure on the East Bank, says Department of Waterworks Director Robert Brou.

The crossing, however, won't allow the department to completely refurbish a heavily corroded water clarifier on the East Bank, referred to as C-Plant.

"We need to construct two new 3-million-gallons-per-day clarifiers to increase water production capacity so we can refurbish C-Plant," Brou said.

Brou says the clarifier, which treats the water on the East Bank, is corroding because the tanks weren't initially built with corrosion-resistant steel. Brou says C-Plant was built in 1978.

The new plants being designed, as well as the repairs to C-Plant, will include all corrosion-resistant materials under the water line.

"Bids were received in September 2007 and came in at $25 million, and that was way over budget," he said. "We will be putting the project out for bid again, and hopefully we'll get it down to $19 million."

Still, the problems with C-Plant can only be fixed by adding new production capacity.
"For more than two decades, the customer demand on the East Bank exceeded our ability to produce sufficient quantities of water with the other two existing plants," Brou said. "Because of this, we are unable to take C-Plant offline for more than 18 hours without running out of water for East Bank residents and businesses."

Once those two plants are constructed, waterworks will be able to shut down C-Plant long enough to repair the damage without interrupting water service. Repairs to C-Plant should take approximately three to four months to complete, Brou said.

"Right now, if we shut down the plant and attempt to repair it, water supply for the East Bank will be gone," he said. "The one crossing we are working on will be able to help us continue to permanently supply water for East Bank residents.”

Brou says he has not received final approval to complete a planned second pipe crossing from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Bonds were sold in January to fund the construction of the project, which netted $19 million in capital for the new clarifiers.
In the meantime, Brou continues to look for other funding sources. He says he's applied for federal and state allocations to help fund this and other water infrastructure projects.
An example of this additional funding is the two new 1-million-gallon storage tanks under construction on the East Bank.
"The two new water tanks we are constructing on the East Bank were built with state capital outlay funds and none of the money to construct those tanks came from the parish," he said. "Those are the types of sources that I will look for to complete the parish's infrastructure projects."

View other articles written Shonna Riggs

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