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Henderson-area water systems get improvement grant

Posted at 4:50 PM, Jun 09, 2022

The Henderson-Nina Water System (HNWS) of St. Martin Parish has been awarded $4 million by the Louisiana Department of Health’s Drinking Water Revolving Loan Fund (DWRLF) Program to consolidate with six local water systems and invest in improvements to eliminate problems of arsenic contamination and inadequate chlorine residual that currently exists in those smaller systems.

HNWS will consolidate three community water systems: TESI Atchafalaya Acres, River Ridge Estates, and Elm Point Estates; and three non-community water systems: Atchafalaya Basin Landing, Cajun Heritage RV Park, and McGee’s Swamp Tours.

“All six of these systems are currently having difficulty maintaining water quality standards. The community water systems are all under Administrative Orders pertaining to drinking water that exceeds the Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCLs) for arsenic. The three non-community systems have violations relating to maintaining minimum chlorine residual,” DWRLF Project Engineer Brian Baker said.

“This project will consolidate these six systems into the Henderson-Nina system, which is in full compliance with water standards, and in so doing, will enable these smaller systems to eliminate the Administrative Orders and other enforcement issues. This effort is remedying serious concerns and offering customers better water,” Baker said.

Professional Engineer Susan Richard of Domingue, Szabo & Associates, Inc., said: “We are excited to provide the engineering services for this critical improvement to bring safe drinking water to residents of the Henderson and Butte LaRose areas. It has been our pleasure

to work with the Henderson-Nina Water System officials, as well as the Louisiana Department of Health, to see this project through to fruition.”

“Consolidating these customers under one safe and effective potable water system benefits the health, safety, and welfare of the public,” Richard said. “Our regret is that Ray Robin, the former system manager who passed away this year, was not able to see the success of his endeavors. We miss him and hope he is happily looking down on his project.”

Richard said the funds will be used to install water transmission lines from Cypress Cove through Butte La Rose utilizing primarily existing rights-of-way. She estimated that more than 107,000 linear feet of PVC pipe will be used in constructing the transmission line. The new lines also will be supported by a booster pump station that processes 350 gallons per minute and a 200,000-gallon ground storage tank with chlorine injection to maintain water pressure and chlorine residual throughout the extended system. She said the pumps and ground storage tank will be constructed in the Butte La Rose area.

HNWS currently manages water service for about 1,500 customers in the Town of Henderson and the unincorporated area of St. Martin Parish adjacent to Henderson. The consolidation of the HNWS customers and the six smaller systems will enlarge HNWS to nearly 2,300 customers.

“The funding for this project is part of our program’s newly created Consolidation Initiative Program, which provides loans that are 100-percent forgiven for approved projects that eliminate existing public water systems that pose a threat to public health,” DWRLF Project Manager Joel McKenzie said.

“The Consolidation Initiative Program is available to any compliant water system that is willing to consolidate with a nearby system that is not in compliance with the Safe Drinking Water Act. All loan projects are approved based upon a priority ranking system. Projects that address the most serious risks to human health and those that ensure compliance with the Safe Drinking Water Act are given the highest priority,” McKenzie said.

He noted that multiple community systems across the state have already applied to take advantage of the DWRLF funding option. HNWS received its $4 million Consolidation Initiative Program loan on April 27, 2022.

"The Drinking Water Revolving Loan Fund’s Consolidation Initiative Program has provided a way for the residents of this water system to improve their local drinking water infrastructure with no financial burden to the citizens because the program covers 100 percent of the cost," LDH Chief Engineer Amanda Ames said.

“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,” Ames said.