Grants could cover water plant repairs

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 18, 2000

FERRIDAY, La. — The cost of repairing Ferriday’s water plant enough to get a 124-day boil-water notice lifted will be covered by grants if the town can get a $300,000 state award for which it just applied.

&uot;But it could take anywhere from two weeks to … three months&uot; for the application to the state’s Interim Emergency Board to be approved, said Robert Botts, budget director for the Louisiana Office of Emergency Preparedness.

On Aug. 20, the town was put under a boil notice because its water plant kept shutting down, apparently due to operator error and lack of maintenance.

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Repairs needed before the state would consider lifting the notice, including repairs to filters and chemical pumps and replacing an operations computer, cost an estimated $470,000.

Last fall, the town got a $52,000 grant from Gov. Mike Foster’s office and a $217,458 Louisiana Community Development Block Grant to help cover that cost, said Oliver Schultz, a Monroe consultant who assists Ferriday with grant applications.

And on Monday, Concordia Parish Civil Defense Director Morris White went to Baton Rouge to hand Office of Emergency Preparedness officials an application for an additional $300,000 from the state’s Interim Emergency Board.

The difference is that the Governor’s Office and CDBG grants could not be used to cover the cost of repairs that had already been made.

The Emergency Board money, on the other hand, could be used to cover the costs of repairs made during the month after the boil notice was issued but before those grants were approved.

Botts said he plans to submit Ferriday’s application to the Emergency Board’s auditors on Friday.

If the board approves the application, ballots will be sent to all state senators and representatives, said Cynthia Duhon, the board’s secretary.

Two-thirds of each house of the Legislature must approve the request for it to be granted, she added.

If the Emergency Board application is approved, money remaining after the repairs are paid for — almost $100,000 — would go to pay for chemicals needed to treat the surface water the town draws from Old River.