Area gets water system grants: City receives $800K, rural district also funded $750K

Published 7:00 am Friday, May 6, 2016

Gov. John Bel Edwards announced this week that the state will award just over $1.5 million in Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) to fix water systems in Bogalusa and Washington Parish.

The city of Bogalusa will get $800,000 to rehabilitate the city’s drinking water system and the Bogue Lusa Water Works system is getting $750,000 to dig a new well.

The Bogalusa money will go to replace water pipes in the Richardsontown area, said Mayor Wendy Perrette.

“The pipes are old and this is to prevent them from being dangerous,” she said. Perrette explained that the pipes are coated with lead, which is a neurotoxin but also a material in old pipes.

“Because they’re coated with lead and to keep from becoming dangerous we want to replace those pipes,” she said. “I can’t tell you when the last time they were replaced.”

In addition, she said there will be some street repair once the streets are torn up for the work. Perrette said she expects the project will begin in 60 to 90 days.

“I’m just happy we got (the grant), because it’s money we did not have before to improve our pipes and system throughout the city,” she said.

Mary Adams, the operator manager at Bogue Lusa Water Works, said the new well will add capacity to the rural system. The system provides water to 1,420 homes and businesses outside of Bogalusa, and Adams said the entire project could take up to two years to realize. However, she added, the water works hasn’t received the money yet and she isn’t sure when the project will begin.

The funds come to the state through the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development and they’re aimed at helping low-income areas.

“I am thrilled to make this announcement,” Edwards said. “These grants are going to make meaningful, lasting changes in communities where these resources are desperately needed. During challenging fiscal times like these, especially in the wake of three natural disasters in the last two months, the impact of these funds is even more important.”

State Rep. Malinda White, D-Bogalusa, was thrilled the parish received the funds.

“Well, I’m just really excited that we were included in the CDBG,” she said. “It certainly will help with our infrastructure. Every little bit will help.”