State OKs $500K for water plant

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 20, 2001

FERRIDAY, La. – State lawmakers have already approved $500,000 in capital outlay money to help pay for water clarifiers to be installed at a new water plant the Concordia Waterworks District No. 1 has built near Lake St. John.

The new plant, which has already been constructed, isn’t yet in use because chemicals used to remove a brown tint from the water clog the plant’s filters. That reduces the time the plant can run without its filters being washed to only 12 hours, wasting water and costing the district extra money.

So district engineer Bryant Hammett has suggested installing a clarifier at the plant – a device that would agitate the chemicals and prevent them from clogging the filter as quickly.

But before that system is installed, the district’s board wants to make sure the system could process enough water to serve the district 20 years into the future – and possibly produce water for the Town of Ferriday as well.

Ferriday officials have expressed interest in buying water from Concordia Waterworks if the aquifer at Lake St. John has enough water to meet the extra demand.

An agreement between Ferriday and Concordia Waterworks has not yet been reached. And even if a tentative agreement is reached, new test wells will have to be drilled to make sure the aquifer could handle the demand.

&uot;You would be talking about pumping at least twice as much water as you’re currently pumping,&uot; Hammett told the board.

But just in case, the board on Tuesday directed Hammett to redesign the proposed clarifier system to make sure it could handle such a demand.

The clarifier, is it is already designed, could process 3 million gallons of water a day – possibly enough to handle such a demand. &uot;But we want to make sure,&uot; Hammett said.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture had already committed to matching the state capital outlay money with $500,000 in USDA funds to install the clarifier system.

But in recent meetings with Hammett and board attorney&160;Jack McLemore, USDA officials have said they are willing to spend even more – within reason, Hammett said.

&uot;We can’t come back and say ‘It’ll cost $5 million.’ It’s got to be within reason,&uot; Hammett said. He said he will not have an idea of the additional cost until the redesign work is done, but added that expanding the clarifier system could probably be done &uot;without much additional cost.&uot;

Concordia Waterworks District No. 1 serves more than 8,000 customers in unincorporated Concordia Parish.