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City of Broussard making changes to water

Posted at 11:19 AM, Dec 05, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-05 12:19:57-05

Residents in the City of Broussard will soon begin receiving their water entirely from the city’s water system, thanks to a $3.75 million investment in three new water wells and a state-of-the-art water pressure system that will allow the city to serve up to 25,000 residents – more than double the current population.

A release from the city says Broussard is funding the improvements with a cost-effective loan from the Louisiana Department of Health’s Drinking Water Revolving Loan Fund program.

“The new wells will allow us to improve the quality of our water and increase our system’s capacity to handle our growing city,” City Supervisor Melvin Bertrand said.

The City of Broussard now buys water wholesale from the Lafayette Utilities System (LUS), which is owned by the City of Lafayette, because its existing water wells do not produce enough water to serve the entire city.

The city began discussing the need to increase its quality and capacity nearly eight years ago, following a dispute with LUS.  Since that time, the city has identified three locations for new water wells to best improve coverage throughout the city.

Bertrand said the city is drilling one water well off Garber Road in the northeast part of Broussard.  The other wells will be in the south-central limits of the city and on the western edge of the city.  He said he anticipates all three wells to be drilled and on-line by the end of 2020.

“Not only will this improve our quality and volume, but it will certainly sure up our coverage in an emergency,” Bertrand said. “The City of Broussard is growing and it’s important we respond to that growth.”

The City of Broussard has grown from less than 8,500 residents in 2010 to more than 12,000 in 2017, according to U.S. Census data, making it the 30th largest city in Louisiana.

Bertrand said the monies from the DWRLF program will pay for the three water wells, appurtenances to monitor the volume and pressure of the water, and new water mains and pipes to tie the wells into the existing City of Broussard Water System.  He said the use of the new appurtenances will allow the city to not have to build additional water towers.

“The Drinking Water Revolving Loan Fund has provided an affordable way for residents of this water system to improve their local drinking water infrastructure,” said State Health Officer Dr. Jimmy Guidry of the Louisiana Department of Health. “Safe drinking water is fundamental to community health, and this program helps communities throughout Louisiana keep their water as safe as possible without placing an undue burden in the form of expensive financing.”

Bertrand said the city selected the DWRLF program to fund its project because of its affordability and access to department loan managers and engineers who can provide professional consultation on the projects.

DWRLF Program Loan Manager Jennifer Wilson said the low-interest, subsidized loan will allow the City of Broussard to make improvements at an affordable cost, and the town is eligible for as much as $500,000 in principal loan forgiveness.

She said the U.S. Congress established state Drinking Water Revolving Loan Fund programs in 1996 as part of an amendment to the Safe Drinking Water Act.  The program is jointly funded by an annual grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (80 percent) and the individual participating states (20 percent).

“Loans made through this program are low interest and have a maximum 20-year repayment period. Both public and privately-owned community and nonprofit, non-community water systems are eligible to apply for loans,” Wilson said.

She noted that once a loan is approved, water systems can use the funds to make their improvements.  As the systems pay back the loans, the principal and interest are used to make more money available to other communities that have drinking water needs.

For more information about the DWRLF program, contact Jennifer Wilson at LDH’s Office of Public Health at 225-342-7499; or visit Drinking Water Revolving Loan Fund on Facebook.