Flooding causing sewer failures in parish subdivisions

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Water has again become a major issue for a growing Bossier Parish, and again it isn’t the visible water that fills lakes, bayous and rivers to flood stages after repeated periods of heavy rains.

Parish Engineer Butch Ford told members of the parish police jury’s Road/Subdivision Regulations Committee Wednesday that ground water has risen to levels in areas between the Red River and local bayous, causing some sewer system lines to fail.

Citing a problem reported in one subdivision, Ford said a contractor was called to remove sand that was invading a lift station. After running a scan on the lines, three failures caused by sagging, separated pipes were found. 

“We cannot dig a hole because it fills with ground water. The same issue occurred in another subdivision. We’ve been pumping for a week and we still can’t get down to the lines,” Ford said. “Lines sagging like this is new to us and we’re trying to get a handle on it.”

Another subdivision has applied to tie onto this sewer line that is failing, he added.

Ford said in his opinion, it’s the ground water that has risen to a depth of four feet in some areas of what is referred to as the river bottom that is causing the problems. And, he added, it’s a continuing problem that has become very expensive.

“Over the last three years we have paid three hundred thousand dollars for a failure in Kingston Plantation, and we had another last year for about two hundred thousand,” Ford said.  “There was another in Kingston this year.”

Ford said changes were going to be necessary because, “…we simply cannot keep taking hits like this. There can’t be more building in the river bottom until we figure this thing out.”

A meeting with engineers who have experience in the area and the parish staff is being planned within the next 30 days, Ford told committee members. Also, his staff has requested and received sewer line specifications from Jefferson Parish where similar problems have plagued officials.

“We’re going to put our heads together and try to come up with answers to this problem. We’re probably going to come to the jury with new specifications for the systems. We’ve already had to institute new specifications for our roads because of ground water,” he said.

Ford said the parish is planning to team with LSU to study the ground water in the river bottom to learn if it’s on the rise, stable or declining. Because of the current situation, new subdivision units in the area must take borings to determine the water level under roads and sewer lines.

“If this ground water keeps going like it’s going we’re not going to be able to accept any sewer lines in the system. We can’t take this hit,” Ford said. “We’re about to start fixing another problem and how many problems do we have that we’re not even aware of yet. It’s too expensive for us to maintain all this”