Port Barre is one of several towns benefiting from a state community development block grant. The city is receiving funds to improve their sewer plant.
The plant cleans and disinfects water. It’s then transferred to the Bayou Teche nearby. However, the equipment here hasn’t been up to standards.
"The town has been experiencing some violations of a discharge permit over the past couple of years," engineer William Jarrell said.
The plant here hasn’t had upgrades since 1997. That’s caused some of the equipment to break down, and is also affecting the way they discharge waste.
Jarrell, an engineer for the town, says the State Department of Environmental Quality gave them a severity rating on a scale of 0 to 50 points. Jarrell says they received a rating in the mid 40s.
That problem can change soon with the $1.2 million grant. Governor John Bel Edwards announced this week that he will direct $14 million in Community Development Block Grant funding to 23 Louisiana projects.
The grant funding is designated to provide local governments with the resources necessary to meet the needs of citizens in rural areas and municipalities throughout Louisiana. Governor Edwards says that the basis of the program provides funds for needs like sewer rehabilitation projects, water and street improvements, economic development projects, and other priorities.
The program, the Louisiana Community Block Grant Program (LCDBG), is a federally funded HUD program that is administered through the Office of Community Development.
"Receiving the grant money means the town doesn’t have to use their funds or borrow the funds to make these improvements," Jarrell said. "Their user charges will not have to increase."
He added, "the schedule for the plans and specifications should be completed in the next 6 months," Jarrell said.
Jarrell says the town will advertise for construction bids by then.