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In-House Drainage Projects Save Taxpayers Millions
Under the direction of Parish President Jimmy Cantrelle, the Department of Public Works has focused on in-house drainage upgrades, which deliver widespread flooding relief at a fraction of the cost throughout Lafourche Parish. While a brand new pump system could cost up to two million dollars, the expense to upgrade an existing pump station is less than one hundred fifty thousand dollars utilizing the expertise of parish employees. “For example, we are spending less than one hundred fifty thousand dollars to upgrade the Sugar Ridge East pump station in-house, which would have cost approximately 1.5 million to contract out,” explained Public Works Director James Barnes.
The Sugar Ridge East pump station will have a permanent twenty-four inch low-lift pump with an automatic switch added to the original eighteen-inch pump, which replaces a temporary hydraulic pump. “The upgrades increase the gallons per minute flow rate by about thirty percent,” said Nick Guidry, Southern Division Operations Manager. “The upgraded pump station will better service the Sugar Ridge area during a heavy rain or high tide. These are the kinds of projects that have a huge impact, but work with the tight budget constraints under my Administration,” emphasized President Cantrelle.
“Although many people in the Parish have the impression that work is at a standstill, we have made great strides to complete in-house drainage projects since I took office. These projects are not publicly discussed because they don’t require engineering contracts, but are vital to our flood protection,” said President Cantrelle. It’s estimated that the Department of Public Works has saved approximately five million dollars in construction and engineering costs from 2016 to 2019 as a result of these projects. “Each in-house pump project start-up and subsequent operation has worked seamlessly,” noted Public Work Director James Barnes. Pump stations are also being transitioned from manual pumps to automatic pumps to modernize the flow systems with these upgrades. The automatic pumps sense high water levels and immediately kick on to manage water flow. Greater pumping capacity is required to protect businesses and neighborhoods as topography changes in lower lying areas. “These projects give you the most for your dollars spent. I am very proud of the work the entire Public Works Department has done the past three years under the leadership of Mr. James Barnes,” said President Cantrelle.