New waterworks plant won’t be online this week

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 6, 2000

FERRIDAY, La. – No one knows when Concordia Waterworks’ new plant near Lake St. John will be online — but it won’t be this week.

That is because chemists will probably not perfect the mix of chemicals in water produced by a new Concordia Waterworks plant until at least next week, according to project engineer Bryant Hammett.

A chemist from Hungerford and Terry of New Jersey, which manufactured the plant, was at the new facility Wednesday afternoon but was not expected to begin testing water until today.

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&uot;They’re steadily working on it,&uot;&160;said district Manager Charles Renfrow.

&uot;They were hoping to be gone by the end of this week, and they might – but only to go home for the weekend and come right back,&uot;&160;Hammett said. Meanwhile, a small &uot;pilot&uot; plant that will produce water for testing has already been set up inside the larger plant.

The new Concordia Waterworks District No. 1 plant was built at a cost of more than $4.3 million because the district’s current wells, located on Louisiana 15 near Ferriday, are running dry.

The problem is that water extracted from an aquifer near the lake and being treated by the plant has so few minerals that crews are having trouble getting the color out of the water it produces.

So far, crews have spent almost three months trying to find an affordable combination of chemicals that will bind to the color itself without quickly clogging up the plant’s filters.

It was originally thought that the plant would be completed and online by spring 2000. But fixing numerous leaks along a transmission line running from the plant – a problem thought to be caused by loose gaskets – took months.

While admitting that the project has at times been a &uot;snake-bit job,&uot;&160;Hammett emphasized the importance of getting water quality as perfect as possible &uot;before we start relying on this new plant.&uot;