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Just plywood? Whew!

FERRIDAY — A project that was estimated to cost the Town of Ferriday more than $15,000 ended up costing only a little more than a third of that.

Last week, workers at the town water plant became aware of a problem in the plant’s backwash drain when water started backing into the plant.

At the time, it was believed that the underground pipe had collapsed and would have to be replaced with a newly-fabricated above ground duct.

Instead, before work on the new backwash pipe began, workers discovered that a two-decade-old, easily corrected mistake was to blame.

At the time of the water plant’s construction, a piece of plywood had been cemented into the floor of the drain well, Mayor Glen McGlothin said.

After 22 years of deteriorating and being pounded by the plant’s backwash, the board broke free from the concrete and shot down the drain pipe, getting lodged and causing the water to back up.

“We are just trying to figure out why they left that board in there, but it took that many years for it to come out of there,” McGlothin said.

After becoming lodged in the pipe once again, the board caused the water to hammer against the pipe lines and cause erosive damage to them.

The lines had to be grouted in a manner similar to sewer lines, and the ground around the pipe — located under the water treatment facility — had to be shored up where it had eroded away, McGlothin said.

In all, the work cost the town $6,400.

“We were able to use some of the metal we were going to use for the new pipe in some other areas where it was needed, and (the contractors) were able to take a bunch (of metal) back, so it worked out really well for us and for them,” McGlothin said.

“We were able to get it fixed and save a lot of money.”