While plans to demolish three St. Charles Parish water towers are still in place, two of them will remain standing a bit longer than originally planned.
All three towers were marked to be taken down this summer, but towers in St. Rose and Montz will remain up indefinitely due to the Mississippi River’s now-record length of time in flood stage.
The St. Rose and Montz towers are considered too close in proximity to the Mississippi to be brought down safely at this time.
A tower in Des Allemands is still set for demolition this summer as planned, and could be brought down as soon as this month.
St. Charles Parish Waterworks Director Robert Brou said restrictions upon permits from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers related to the height of the river ultimately pushed the demolition of the St. Rose and Montz towers back. Those restrictions stem from concerns that the protection levee could be negatively affected. The Corps restricts work done within 1,500 feet of levees when the Mississippi is extraordinarily high.
“The concern would be that something might affect the integrity of the levee, particularly the Montz tower which is on top of the levee,” Brou said.
The St. Rose tower sits approximately 300 feet away from the levee.
Brou said the hope is to resume the demolition timeline once the river subsides.
“We will attempt to time the notice to proceed so that the contractor can commence work immediately after the river subsides to 11 feet at the Carrolton gauge,” Brou said.
“The concern would be that something might affect the integrity of the levee, particularly the Montz tower which is on top of the levee.” — Robert Brou
Brou added that nothing with the operation should be affected by what he deemed a slight delay.
All three towers have been out of services for years, Brou said. Upgrades to the parish’s water system have yielded a reliance on pumps and have effectively made the three towers obsolete. They were initially built in the 1960s, elevated tanks with height sufficient to pressurize a water supply system for the distribution of potable water.
Leaving the towers standing without regular maintenance would create a safety hazard as well, as one could fall from decay. The St. Charles Parish Council approved $150,000 to demolish the three towers.
Though notable landmarks, ultimately the parish is better off without the towers, Brou said last year. He said they had started causing water quality issues when in use and weren’t necessary anymore.
Standing tall – for now
- Army Corps of Engineers restricts work done within 1,500 feet of levees when the Mississippi River level is extraordinarily high.
- St. Rose and Montz towers fall in that zone and demolition will be delayed, but Des Allemands tower will be torn down as scheduled.
- Towers were initially constructed in 1960.