According to a press release, the Town of Sunset has been awarded $3.016 million by the Louisiana Department of Health’s Drinking Water Revolving Loan Fund (DWRLF) Program to construct a new water well and filtering system, as well as make upgrades to an existing well and properly shutdown inoperable facilities.
The new water well will be constructed on newly purchased property just north of the town’s limits off Bellemin Street, which runs along the eastern boundary of the town. A chlorination system will also be constructed at the site. The new well will have the capacity for 800 gallons per minute, replicating the town’s current operating well, located about 500 yards away, which has a production capacity of 700 gallons per minute.
“The new well will give the water system redundancy to allow the district to switch between the two wells, giving both wells greater longevity and giving the town a back-up in the case there is a problem at one of the sites,” said Earl Paddock, professional engineer with Grooms Engineering, LLC, who is managing the project. “This dual system will ensure that water customers in the Town of Sunset will receive quality drinking water at all times.”
Paddock said the new filtration system will help to remove Manganese and Iron from the water, making it a better-quality drinking water.
“We have been working on funding for this project now for a couple of years,” Town of Sunset Mayor Charles A. James said. “We feel so fortunate to have received this funding to improve the quality of our drinking water, and to construct a system that will enhance our town’s ability to serve more homeowners and more businesses.”
The new filtering system will be installed at the site of the current water well, and upgrades will be made to the current well, including the connection of a new notification and control system that will enable the town to monitor both wells simultaneously and to remotely control both. The town recently purchased an additional one acre of property at the existing well site to add the new filtering system.
“Another aspect of this funding is that it will give us the resources to properly cap two older wells that have been shut down and remove the equipment from those sites, returning those areas to safe green space,” Paddock said.
James said drilling for the new well will begin this month. Engineers will determine the best depth for quality water at that time, then proceed with drilling the permanent well after that. He said engineers anticipate the new well to be in place and online by late fall.
James said work on designing and constructing the filtration system, as well as the capping and clearing of the old wells will be completed in 2024.
DWRLF Program Manager Joel McKenzie said the low-interest loan was awarded to the Town of Sunset on Dec. 16, 2022.
"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,” said LDH Chief Engineer Amanda Ames.
State Drinking Water Revolving Loan Fund programs were established by Congress in 1996 as part of the amendments to the Safe Drinking Water Act. The state programs are jointly funded by an annual grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (80 percent) and the individual participating states (20 percent). In Louisiana, the DWRLF program is administered by LDH's Office of Public Health.
Loans made through this DWRLF program are low interest and have a maximum 30-year repayment period. Both public and privately-owned community and nonprofit, non-community water systems are eligible to apply for loans.
Additional funding for the Town of Sunset project has also been awarded through the state’s Water Sector Program, which is funded by the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).