Nov 28, 2011 4:40 PM by KATC
The police jury in Vermilion parish has declared a state of emergency. President Wayne Touchet says the parish's economy may take a hard hit due to high salt content in the Mermentau Basin. Officials say this has been an ongoing problem that's getting worse. Back in October the "Leland Bowman Lock" sustained major damage after being hit by a barge. The flow control structure prevented saltwater intrusion. Even before the barge incident happened, officials say they needed to repair a breach in Freshwater Bayou that's causing saltwater to flow into the basin. Touchet says Vermilion Parish's economy depends on crops grown by farmers that could get destroyed if salty water continues to pour into the freshwater used for agriculture. Touchet says it may be another five months before the lock that was damaged is fixed.