Year-long water plant improvement project set to begin Monday in Algiers

ALGIERS, LA (WVUE) - Construction is set to begin, Monday, on a multi-million dollar water plant improvement project on one of the New Orleans' two water intake facilities.

"This area behind me is like water pumping and purification," said New Orleans City Councilor Kristin Gisleson Palmer, as she stood in front of the water plant at 900 Lamarque.

This sprawling plant in Algiers is an integral part of the city's water distribution system-- one of two intake areas where water is pumped from the river.

"After Katrina, when all of our systems were down on the East Bank, we were able to come back a lot quicker because we were able to use a lot of the potable water from the West Bank and truck it over to the East Bank," explained Palmer.

Yet, the Sewerage and Water Board says the plant is in need of upgrades. Residents in the area say, just by the looks of it, they agree.

"For quite some time, it's needed to be renovated. For what's going on now and the condition of it, it needs to be repaired," said Algiers resident Ivan Williams.

Now, the board is investing more than seven million dollars in improvements.

"It's going to allow for more water to come in faster and really create a stronger system," said Palmer.

The plan includes demolishing and replacing the existing water clarifier, used to filter incoming river water, and the installation of new water quality tools.

"Hopefully, you won't notice a difference. I think it'll just be a more efficient system which is what I think we're all trying to do in order to really maintain our costs," said Palmer.

But it's going to be a process. The Sewerage and Water Board estimates the work will take up to 15 months to complete.

Work is set to start Monday.

"There will probably be some heavy equipment, there may be some traffic folks going around, rerouting traffic, and there may be some loud noises," Palmer said.

"Something I'm going to have to get used to for a year," said Algiers resident Reneil Brooks.

Those who live nearby say they're not looking forward to the disruption but say they're optimistic about the upgrades.

"We're looking toward that being done," said Williams.

"Their mind and their heart are in the right spot, so I hope it's a better change for everything," Brooks echoed.

Palmer says the work is set to be done during work hours to limit noise and traffic for neighbors.

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