The Parish Council approved the construction of a water line amid growing concerns over water pressure.An upswing in the use of sprinklers and splash pads causes a temporary dip in water tower pressure, which leaves some residents unable to use water the way they always have.
The council approved Westport Wastewater Treatment Plant to clean, replace piping and to conduct manual screening for the bypass project. Council members and Parish President Riley “PeeWee” Berthelot expressed urgency in getting ahead of the matter before it becomes critical.
Parish officials met with engineers and consultants to move the project along as quickly as possible, Berthelot said. He described the water issue at the south-end of the parish as serious and short-term.
“Let’s build this thing as quick as we can because it aint gonna get any better and it’s not gonna be any cheaper to fix,” Kershaw said.
The plan involves drilling a well north of the Intracoastal Canal and running a 20-inch water line on the south-end of the canal, he said.
To fulfill the project’s cost of $4 to $5 million, Berthelot said, $2 million from the West Baton Rouge Public Utilities department, general fund or some from a more than $2 million trust fund could be used. “Very little” would be spent on the project this year, if any, and next year, he said.
The project’s team has been looking at three different piping routes to see the “best, most sufficient and fastest” way, Pam Bateaux said.
The use of splash pads, sprinklers, washing, pool filling and fires cause the water pressure to hover around 25 PSI, just above the 15 PSI standard pressure limit set by the Defense Housing Authority (DHA), Councilman Chris “Fish” Kershaw said.
During the hard freeze earlier in the year, a boil advisory was issued when water pressure dropped below the 15 PSI limit due to a large number of residents running faucets to avoid frozen pipes.
The issue could become critical when more customers are added, Berthelot said, but before the council decides on the enforcement of specific water-running times, they will rely on public awareness and preventive measures.
Splash pads will be set to three-minute timers rather than five minutes and shut off earlier.
Bateaux suggested residents conserve water by running sprinklers at different times, instead of mostly from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. in order to get the depleted tower back up to capacity.