Officials to hold water meeting ‘as soon as possible’

Published 12:00 am Sunday, July 30, 2000

FERRIDAY, La. – Mayor Glen McGlothin wants to meet soon with officials of Concordia Waterworks District No. 1 on whether the town could use the district’s new transmission line to bring cleaner water to the town.

&uot;I really don’t have any other comment, since a date hasn’t been set yet, … but I&160;do hope to meet with them as soon as possible,&uot;&160;said McGlothin. In the past, he has said the town will need to change its water source to improve its water quality in the long term.

That meeting would include McGlothin, Town Engineer Bryant Hammett, members of the Ferriday Town Council and representatives of Concordia Waterworks. Edgar Jones, president of Concordia Waterworks’ board, could not be reached for comment Saturday.

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Using Concordia Waterworks’ transmission lines to transport water from the Lake St. John area to Ferriday is an idea local officials have mulled over for at least one year now as a possible solution to Ferriday’s water troubles.

Ever since 1988, when the town’s water plant at Old River was brought online, the town’s water has often been brown and smelly due to manganese, particularly when the river is low. And the town was under a boil-water notice for 124 days from late August to late December. At the start of the notice, the plant shut down for two and a half days, leaving the town’s 1,400-plus water customers reliant on National Guard trucks for water.

One solution for getting better water for the town would be to create sediment ponds to pre-treat the water before it got to the plant, among other improvements, Hammett said. Last year, the town got more than $1.1 million in federal money for that purpose.

Hammett said he sees one other option – the town’s drilling two wells near Lake St. John and paying Concordia Waterworks to use the district’s newly installed transmission line to transport the water to the town’s water lines.

But Hammett admitted discussion about that option is still in the preliminary stages.

&uot;Conceptually, Concordia Waterworks felt it was an okay idea&uot; when approached with the idea several months ago, he said. &uot;But they still have a lot of questions. There would have to be intergovernmental agreements on many things, including the cost. And at this point, those details have not been discussed.&uot;

But while careful thought must be given to the town’s options, there is still a time factor, Hammett said. In July 1999 the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced that it would make $1,137,000 available to the town to create treatment ponds and make other improvements at the water plant. That included a $775,000 grant and $362,000 loan.

That money is still available, and USDA representatives have said they are open to using the money to drill wells at Lake St. John if that is feasible – but the department needs to know soon which option the town will pursue, Hammett said.

&uot;They’ve indicated that if the (wells) are a better way to go, that’s fine, and they didn’t give us a timetable by which to make this decision, … but they’ll need some direction fairly soon,&uot; he said.