A consultant told the City Council at its March meeting that the wastewater treatment system installed in 1988 is not working properly, while the one on-line since the 1950’s is doing yeoman work.
Gary Beard, a Baton Rouge engineer who participated in the design and construction of the newer plant, said it no longer resembles the system he helped install and that it doesn’t produce the desired and designed results.
Beard’s study was done, at an approximate cost of $6,000 at Mayor Bob Morris request.
Morris has been devoting most of his attention to the wastewater plant since he and the council had a run-in over it in early January.
After Beard’s report, Morris told the council that the inadequacies in Plant No. 2 are the result “of basically years of ignored and deferred maintenance.”
“It’s going to be expensive to fix, and I don’t know exactly how,” he said, estimating it would take $300,000 to $400,000 to get the plant on track.
He asked the council what it wanted to do.
Alderman Jack Burson said he felt that what needs to be done is what is being done now.
“We need to find out what is needed, and then we have to do it,” he said.
He made a motion that the evaluation process continue and that when it is complete the council look at the results. The motion passed without dissent.
Treated inflow from both plants merges, becoming effluent which is discharged into a nearby gulley.
The merged effluent meets discharged standards set by state and federal agencies because Plant No. 1’s treated wastewater exceeds the standards by a wide enough margin to compensate for No. 2’s shortcomings.
Beard’s report supports the position taken by City Engineer Karl Aucoin that aerators and mixers installed five years ago, subsequently failed to do the job.
No one is quite sure why that is so, though Beard said he thinks an electricity-driven system, rather than hydraulic, may be the answer.