Town of Ferriday set to discuss water today

Published 12:00 am Thursday, January 4, 2001

FERRIDAY, La. – Finding a better water solution for Ferriday cannot wait until Concordia Waterworks No. 1 gets its new water plant online, Mayor Glen McGlothin said.

So in Tuesday’s meeting, the Town Council is expected to discuss other ways to use more than $1.1 million in federal money besides tying into that district’s water system, McGlothin confirmed Wednesday.

&uot;I don’t know how long we can wait for them to finish,&uot;&160;McGlothin said.

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In June 1999, the Concordia Parish Police Jury approved the issuance of $2,557,000 in bonds to assist Concordia Waterworks in drilling four wells and building a treatment plant near Lake St. John.

A $1,294,000 grant and $482,200 loan received in April 1998 covered the remainder of the cost for the district, which serves more than 8,000 customers.

It was originally thought that the plant would be completed and online by spring 2000. Now, it still is not in use because engineers and chemists have not found a cost-effective way to remove a brownish tint from the water.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced in July 1999 that it would make $1,137,000 available to Ferriday to create treatment ponds and make other improvements at the town’s 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 — and transporting the water to Ferriday through Concordia Waterworks’ transmission line.

Ferriday officials had delayed making such an arrangement until Concordia Waterworks could get its water problems straightened out, but no one will say when that could happen.

There is no specific deadline by which the town has to spend the federal money, according to officials with the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

But McGlothin said the town needs to start exploring other options for getting better-quality water.

As it now stands, a high magnesium content in the water the town gets from Old River often causes customers’ water to be brown and smelly.

Town Engineer Bryant Hammett has said that one solution for getting better water for the town would be to create sediment ponds to pre-treat the water before it got to Ferriday’s water plant.

For his part, McGlothin would not say what options will be discussed at Tuesday’s meeting.

But he did say that engineers, state health officials and others associated with Ferriday’s water situation will be present to make presentations and answer questions.