Parish water system work months behind

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 1, 2000

FERRIDAY – Improvements to Concordia Waterworks District No. 1’s water delivery system should be complete in six months — several months behind schedule, according to project engineer Bryant Hammett.

Four new wells have been drilled near Lake St. John. A new treatment plant has been built near that location and personnel are working to get the correct balance of treatment chemicals.

&uot;We can’t run the plant at full capacity until we do that,&uot;&160;Hammett said.

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But the project as a whole is still not online, even though it was estimated last year that the improvements would be finished by the end of spring 2000.

What is currently delaying the project is that gaskets holding the joints of a new transmission line together are rolling, causing the line to leak.

That is not the fault of contractor G.D. Womack Trenching of Harrisonburg, La., said Hammett, but of the manufacturer.

&uot;The line has been in the ground for several months now, but we keep finding leaks,&uot;&160;Hammett said. &uot;We’ve repaired 22 leaks so far and are looking for others.&uot;

A few smaller delays have also happened in the past year because drilling of the wells took about two months longer than expected and transformers needed to complete the project had to be specially ordered, Hammett said.

In June 1999, the Concordia Parish Police Jury approved the issuance of $2,557,000 in bonds for the project.

The remainder of the cost is being covered by a $1,294,000 grant and $482,200 loan the district received in April 1998.

Other contractors include McInnis Brothers of Minden, La., which constructed the plant, and Lane Central of Cleveland, which will dig and test the wells.

Still, some Concordia Waterworks customers said water quality has improved in recent months despite the delays. The district’s water used to be a brown color that would sometimes stain clothes, said some residents.

&uot;But the color is pretty good, and there’s no real odor,&uot; said customer Azalee Small of Concordia Park Drive near Vidalia. &uot;It has really gotten better over the last three or four months.&uot;