New pump easing saltwater concerns in Plaquemines Parish

pump installed
pump installed(rob masson)
Published: Aug. 18, 2023 at 4:59 PM CDT
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PLAQUEMINES PARISH, La. (WVUE) - In Plaquemines Parish, water pressure is reportedly improving. Residents dealing with saltwater issues are seeing relief as a booster pump was installed below Belle Chasse and is showing positive results.

In mid-August, despite avoiding hurricanes this season, Plaquemines Parish continues to face challenges from nature. Saltwater intrusion due to low water levels in the Mississippi River has led to water supply contamination in the southern area, particularly south of Empire. However, a booster pump installation at Alliance offers a potential solution.

The booster pump aims to enhance water pressure in lines originating from Belle Chasse. The goal is to push more freshwater to the southern end of the parish, helping to flush out the saltwater in the distribution system.

By midday on Friday, Parish officials reported positive progress in water pressure, extending as far south as Port Sulphur.

This year has been marked by challenging weather in Plaquemines Parish, beyond the unusually low river levels.

Daily repairs of broken water lines have become necessary due to the lowered water table affecting line integrity under increased pressure. While this is positive for those below Empire, concerns arise for growers like Ben Becnel, dealing with the possibility of bursts in irrigation lines due to heightened pressure.

Citrus growers like Becnel rely on a stable water supply. Ongoing drought conditions are causing oranges to wither on the vine, compounding challenges in a parish accustomed to hurricane threats during this time.

“I’m 56, I’ve never seen heat like this. This is unrelenting,” said Becnel.

In July, Governor John Bel Edwards declared a state of emergency in response to the situation. The Corps of Engineers has installed two underwater sills to keep the salty water from traveling upriver.


Corps of Engineers planning second saltwater sill in less than a year in Plaquemines Parish

Plaquemines Parish fights second saltwater threat as river flow declines; water supply at risk

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