Water plant repairs to cost town $15K

Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 24, 2010

FERRIDAY — The latest fix to save Ferriday’s water plant will cost the town $15,500.

The emergency bid to fabricate and install a new backwash drainpipe in the plant was awarded to Mid-Gulf Corporation Friday morning, Mayor Glen McGlothin said.

“We hope they get started today, get it built over the weekend and get it installed next week,” McGlothin said Friday.

The new pipe will replace a backwash drain that collapsed under the water treatment facility’s physical plant earlier this week.

The collapsed line caused water to back up into the plant and — if left unchecked — could undermine the foundation of one side of the treatment facility. A shift in the building could break an important line, effectively cutting off water service.

When it is built and installed, the new line will run along the plant floor and through a wall before dumping the backwash water into a pond rather than going underground, as the current one does.

Until the new line is installed, workers at the plant are having to do the best they can with water gushing out onto the floor, and McGlothin said they have utilized sandbags to direct the water away from the plant’s chemical rooms, offices and pump stations.

The water runs out an open space in the plant, and has started to build up outside.

“It’s like a small lake,” McGlothin said. “That’s what the urgency was about.”

McGlothin previously said the town will request aid from the state and federal programs, but the repairs would have to be made out of the town general fund regardless of the outcome of those requests.

In the last year, the town has completed projects to replace the water storage tank at the plant and to reinforce a weakened bridge at its intake structure that had it broken would have cut off the town’s water service.

A long-term plan to replace the 22-year-old water plant with a new one that draws water from groundwater sources rather than from Old River is in the works.