Amanda Simmons, amanda@bossierpress.com

The parish-wide sewer and water system is paying off for Bossier.

The multi-million dollar operation has been in service for several years now and is attracting the attention of others around the state. Parish Engineer Butch Ford said Bossier has, essentially, become a “poster child” because of their success.

“We’ve had people from around the state call us and actually visit our facilities to see how we do things. They want to figure out how we’ve done it because they want to do it, too,” Ford said.

Bossier has seen substantial growth over the years and the population continues to climb. Consolidated Waterworks/Sewerage District No. 1 was created to meet the need for a centralized sewerage collection and treatment system that would better serve the citizens of Bossier Parish and to better protect the environment.

“We knew if we didn’t get community sewer, the growth would eventually stop,” he said.

The Bossier Parish Police Jury took action and moved forward with the sewer project. A $55 million sewer system, complete with a state-of-the-art wastewater treatment plant, was constructed to incorporate existing systems and any future systems built in conjunction with developments that come under parish governance.

“We have a lot of areas that are being developed because of community sewer,” Ford explained. “A lot of companies will not develop without that available. We’re adding new customers every quarter now.”

The police jury was recently approached by the town of Benton to acquire the systems that were outside of the city limits. Ford said it was approved by the jury and there are plans underway to add another thousand customers to the parish-wide system.

Something else the police jury wanted to do was clean up the environment. When the system became operational, the parish no longer had wastewater dumping into streams and waterways.

Their efforts certainly did not go unnoticed. Things have gone so well that the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has said there’s another $10 million available to expand parish-wide services even more.

Ford said they have already sent in a pre-application for those funds.

“We caught the eye of DEQ,” Ford said. “Before, the oxidation ponds and old plants were discharging into our streams and waterways. We’ve been able to clean all that up.”

The sewer and water business is a never ending process, though. As the parish continues to grow, so will the need to provide services to those areas.

Fortunately, Bossier Parish officials are continuously working to achieve that.

“We knew, in 2004, this was coming,” Ford said. “It has taken us 14 years, but we’re getting there. We’ve been very fortunate here in Bossier Parish. There’s going to be a lot more to come in the future.”