Parish continues to fight salt water intrusionAug 27th, 2012 | By Jessica Gonzalez | Category: news
As a means to maintain the parish’s water supply while in the midst of the salt water river intrusion, the parish has been working feverishly with neighboring parishes to pump water in, while the Corps builds the underwater sill to stop the wedge from moving any further upriver.
Orleans and Jefferson Parishes are continuing to pump water to the Belle Chasse intake, water is being barged into the Port Sulphur intake, and construction for the underwater sill to stop the salt wedge is well underway.
Orleans and Jefferson Parishes operate at lower water pressure than Plaquemines, so PPG says that residents may notice a slight reduction in the water pressure in Belle Chasse.
Parish President Billy Nungesser has affirmed that “barge transportation has been taken over by the Corps and as long as river levels remain low, we will have to continue barging in to Port Sulphur.”
Water is also being pulled from reservoirs in Davant and Boothville-Venice.
As of presstime, the toe of the salt water wedge is located at mile marker 89 in the river, located in St. Bernard Parish.
The area of high chloride levels begins approximately 15 miles downstream from the toe at mile marker 74, slightly below Belle Chasse.
The Corps started work on the sill August 15 and maintains that they are currently 50 percent complete with the “Estimated completion is end of August/early September,” said Corps spokesperson Rachel Rodi. “The progress of the sill construction is already impeding the saltwater wedge’s ability to advance further upstream. Based on the current forecast, we do not expect the toe of the wedge to advance beyond its current location just below River Mile 90.”
The sill is being constructed just north of Phillips 66
refinery. Dennis Nuss, Public Affairs Coordinator at Phillips 66 says the refinery has been working with the Corps, and so far, the sill construction has not affected operations.
“At this point there’s no indication that it has any affect on us,” Nuss said. “I think
they had some issues working around the docks, but we’re still getting product in and out.”
Parish officials are still asking that all residents and businesses in the Parish conserve water for the remainder of this event.