Parish aims to improve Montz drainage

Work underway on Montz drainage improvements.
Work underway on Montz drainage improvements.

Work has begun on Gulf South Pipeline’s promised $2 million drainage upgrades agreed to as part of Entergy’s gas compressor station.

Public Works Director Clayton “Snookie” Faucheux said the money will go to projects identified in a drainage study paid for by Entergy.

Gulf South is providing Entergy’s gas compressor station just off Evangeline Road to fuel the electric company’s $869 million St. Charles Power Station, also in Montz. Area residents opposed zoning changes that allowed the station’s construction in their residential neighborhood, but they were approved by the Planning Commission and Parish Council.

Entergy’s Melanie Stewart said meetings with residents identified several areas of concern, including drainage and property values, noise and safety.

Faucheux said the study calls for sewer work under CN and KCS railways, which will require permitting and purchasing property and rights of way.

Part of this work also will involve installing a new drainage canal through Entergy’s right of way, Faucheux said.

Work was scheduled to begin last year with in-house personnel, but he said it was delayed when they discovered a pipeline only 48 inches below the surface. The project was put on hold until Public Works can engineer a possible solution to approach the pipeline owners.

“The final part of the study requires the linking of some natural ponds that retain storm water runoff with new subsurface borings under Airline Highway,” he said. “This, too, will require the purchase of property and rights of way. We are working internally to put together a priority list of these projects to procure an engineer to design, identify permitting, rights of way, and land requirements necessary to initiate construction.”

Faucheux said the drainage study work will only address the conveyance to U.S. Highway 61.

“The better we get at removing water from the Montz community, the more water we receive from the St. John area,” he said. “The water migrates from southwest to northeast (from the river to the lake).”

The parish is working with St. John Parish President Natalie Robottom and staff and Pontchartrain Levee District representatives to address these issues.

“We have had numerous meetings within the past six months to address a long-term solution,” he said. “The most feasible is the initiation of the first phase of the West Shore Hurricane protection levee project to a protection of six feet to tie into natural high areas north of LaPlace. We are generating support for this project.”

Faucheux said additional, but separate work is underway centered around the coulee in Montz.

The property to straighten and clean this drainage canal is being acquired, he said. This drainage system will have an access roadway for future inspections and maintenance.

“To date, we have spent $752,000 with another $232,000 authorized for work being planned for a total of $986,000,” Faucheux said. “This money includes rights of way acquisitions, and new replacement culverts. This value does not include Public Works personnel hours cleaning the Coulee, rebuilds of the three pumps and replacing the culverts in the Coulee.”

Faucheux said they have an opportunity to operate the Highway 61 sluce gates more efficiently and by remote control.

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