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Bossier Parish to fund Camp Minden water study

A study that could prove beneficial to residents and businesses in two neighboring parishes has been approved by the Webster Parish police jury following a discussion with their Bossier Parish counterparts.

At the public body’s monthly meeting, members of the Webster police jury approved a Bossier Parish police jury request to study the possibilities of reopening a long-dormant surface water treatment plant located on the grounds of Camp Minden.

Officials from both public bodies believe the study will go a long way toward addressing the future water needs of southwest Webster Parish and east Bossier Parish.

Studying the possibility of becoming a partner with Webster Parish is not the first time Bossier Parish has reached out to a neighbor for a source of water. Bossier and Caddo parishes are currently studying the feasibility of a joint effort to place a water treatment plant on the Red River.

Bossier police jury members have already agreed to foot the bill for the Camp Minden treatment plant rehabilitation study. Cost of the first phase of the study which, among other issues, will determine whether the quantity of water available is sufficient, is $125,300.

“We would like to find a use for this plant out there,” Bossier jury member Glenn Benton told his Webster cohorts. “We’re willing to pay for the study to see if we can get a permit for it. We need to check all water sources…the citizens of Bossier and Webster need our best efforts.”

Benton was talking about a water treatment plant that had been constructed in the early 1990s and was originally permitted to pump four million gallons per day. Sources of the water were Dorcheat Bayou, which becomes Lake Bistineau just south of Camp Minden, and ground water wells drilled in the 1950s.

A study of the Camp Minden water supply was first commissioned by the Bossier Parish police jury and conducted by Shaw Environmental and Infrastructure in 2010. That study evaluated the economic benefits to residents and businesses in the Haughton, east Hwy. 80 and Sligo Road areas and in the Webster Parish area around Camp Minden.

Shaw’s study reviewed existing customers, identified potential new customers, produced a future growth analysis, presented a supply and demand review and gave assessments on operating costs. The Shaw report identified 25 utilities as potential users of Camp Minden water; 17 of those are in Webster Parish.

“We’ve got a four-lane stretch of highway on U.S. 80 from Dixie Inn to Bossier Parish Community College out there that is prime for development,” Benton said.

Lanny Buck, principal of KSA, the firm that will conduct the new assessment for the Bossier Parish police jury, said his company’s study will be undertaken in a step process.

“We’ll look at the plant essentially to see if water is available and if we can get it permitted. We will see what it will cost to get back on line and we will develop who needs the water,” Buck said. “We’ll see about the quantity of water, the quality and what the well situation is.”

From there, Buck said, determinations will be made on how and to whom water would be distributed and who will operate the plant. Reports on the water quality and condition of the plant will take 150 days; the distribution study will require another 210 days, Buck estimated.

Since they’re funding the study, results will be reported to the Bossier Parish police jury, but interim reports as the study progresses will be provided for the  Webster Parish police jury, Buck said.

The study’s first phase will determine whether or not operating the system is feasible, Buck added.

“If we find there’s a roadblock, we’re going to stop there,” he said.

Webster Parish police jury president Jim Bonsall said he believes there is a need to look at water supplies and how the two parishes will be impacted now and in the future.

“The report that was done years ago showed there was a need in Webster Parish, but also in south Bossier Parish,” he said. “I strongly believe we need to look into our water supplies.”

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