Ferriday gets OK for water money

Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 1, 2000

FERRIDAY, La. — A $351,939 state grant for Ferriday’s water plant has been approved, and the town should get a check for the full amount within three weeks, a state official said Friday.

The money, which comes from the Louisiana Office of Emergency Preparedness, will be used to cover the costs of work that had to be done late last year before the state would lift a boil notice that stayed in effect for the town for 124 days.

The work ranged from fixing filters and chemical pumps to installing a new operations computer. Last fall, the town got a $52,000 governor’s grant and a $217,458 Community Development Block Grant to help cover the cost of that work. With this latest award, the entire cost – about $470,000 – will be covered by grants.

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The state’s Interim Emergency Board gave initial approval in February to the $351,939 grant, but two-thirds of state legislators had to approve the grant by mail-in ballot before the money could be awarded.

&uot;All that’s been done, and now all that’s left is to award the money,&uot; said Robert Botts, budget director for the Office of Emergency Preparedness.

The difference between this latest grant and the Governor’s Office and CDBG grants is that the first two awards could not be used to cover the cost of repairs that had already been made – but the Emergency Board money can.

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

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.

Repairs needed before the state would consider lifting the notice included repairs to filters and chemical pumps and replacing an operations computer. The notice lasted until Dec. 22.

Ferriday Mayor Odeal Montgomery did not return calls Friday.