A new wastewater treatment plant for the Town of Haughton is nearing completion, with a projected opening in April.
“It’s coming along,”said Mayor Carlton Anderson. “We’re checking everything out. If weather permits it might be sometime in April before it starts up.”
The $3.3 million facility, financed through a low interest Department of Environmental Quality loan, is located on Lincoln Street in the southern part of town. Voters approved the loan application in a Nov. 6, 2012 election but it was only last August before the loan closed.
What the upgrade means, Anderson said, is that the town is going from having to play catchup to being poised to cope with growth for the next 10-20 years, although continued rapid growth could create a need for increased capacity in as soon as 10 years.
“Probably in 10 years we’ll have to do an upgrade,” Anderson said.
Although the town population is approximately 3,500, Anderson said the system has to have much larger capacity.
“Some people wonder why our town of 3,454 needs this,” Anderson said. “This $3.3 million isn’t for 3,454 people. Five days a week, we have 5-6,000 people that come to town for our schools.”
Growth in and around the town, driven by the area economy and quality schools, has created a need for all types of infrastructure upgrades such as schools and water wells, which in turn create the need for wastewater treatment capacity and sewer lines.
“We have lots of starter houses that are selling as fast as they are built,” Anderson said. “People like our area because of jobs and a good school system.”
A bond issue approved by parish voters includes a new Haughton Middle School, which will be Bossier Parish’s first three-story middle school, that is designed to hold 1,500 students in grades six through eight. The new school, to be built on a 30-plus acre campus on Highway 3227 west of the Tuscany subdivision, has a projected completion date of late 2015 or early 2016.
With the recent announcement that major technology company CSC will move into the National Cyber Research Park in eastern Bossier City and create 800 jobs over the next few years, Anderson predicts the close proximity of Haughton will create even more residential growth in and around Haughton. Potentially, he said, the new middle school could be at or near capacity by the time it is completed.
Without the new wastewater treatment plant, Anderson said the new school and residential growth would push the town’s capability.
“This wastewater plant is really, really important for our future growth,” Anderson said.
But aside from getting the town caught up and prepared for growth,Anderson said the new plant has its own generators so it can keep operating if there is a power outage.
Complementing the new treatment plant is a planned sewer line project that would be funded by a combination of local monies and a Louisiana Community Development Block Grant. Using some local matching funds provides the town a better opportunity of securing the grant, which ideally would allow the new lines to be installed early in 2016.
The town has also added three water wells in recent years because of continued growth, and can use some more.
“We can’t be still,” Anderson said. “We still have to be looking for water.”