THIBODAUX, Louisiana — The North Lafourche Water Treatment Plant may be expanded to serve rising residential populations in the parish's northern areas.
The Daily Comet reported (http://bit.ly/1dPNWF0) the project would cost an estimated $7.8 million project and would add 4.5 million gallons per day to the plant's capacity.
That would bring total daily capacity to 10.5 million gallons of drinking water from Bayou Lafourche.
Dirk Barrios, general manager of Lafourche Waterworks District 1, said the proposal is at the preliminary planning stage.
The district doesn't have the money to start the project soon and but hopes to get it started in 3-4 years, he said.
Barrios said he and the district board have been discussing expansion of the plant off Louisiana Highway 1 east of Thibodaux for several years and have been researching options that wouldn't substantial cost increases for Lafourche residents.
The district began looking into expansion in summer 2011, when the plant that serves customers north of the Intracoastal Waterway was averaging more than 5 million gallons of water used per day during a drought, Barrios said.
During an average summer, between 3.5 million and 4 million gallons of water are used daily.
The district can redirect water from the south treatment plant in the Lockport area, which has a daily capacity of 12 million gallons but only uses about 7 million gallons to serve customers south of the Intracoastal Waterway, Barrios said.
Bonding costs for parish-wide water system improvements will end in 2017, which is when Barrios hopes to start looking for options to pay for the expansion.
"It's something that we know has to be done. You want to get ahead of the curve," he said.
The need for expansion is amplified by the increasing population in north Lafourche, Barrios said.
"We've noticed all of the subdivisions, most of them are being developed in the north end," he said.
Information from: Daily Comet, http://www.dailycomet.com