Council decision is a win-win for parish


April 08, 2009 at 11:40 am  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

The St. Charles Parish Council’s decision to approve the discharging of treated wastewater into wetlands owned by Rathborne Land Co. is a win-win for both the parish and Rathborne.

Wetlands have a natural, innate ability to treat wastewater because water moves slowly through wetlands, as shallow flows, saturated substrates or both. Slow flows and shallow waters cause sediments to settle. The slow flows also act to prolong contact times between the water and surfaces within the wetland.

The organic and inorganic materials within a wetland form a complex mass that promotes a varied community of microorganisms, to break down or transform a wide variety of substances, including waste.

Dense growths of vascular plants adapted to saturated conditions often thrive in wetlands and contribute to its treatment capacity. Along with slowing the flow of water, the vegetation creates microenvironments and provides the microbial community attachment sites. Further, plants die back in the fall and accumulate as litter. This creates additional material and exchange sites as well as providing a source of carbon, nitrogen and phosphorous to fuel microbial processes.

Without the agreement, the parish would have either had to expand the Luling Oxidation Pond or pump the wastewater to the Hahnville wasteater-treatment plant, either of which would have been expensive.

Rathborne will also be able to seek carbon credits for the improved wetlands. Those credits can be sold to companies to offset emissions in their operations.




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