Patterson water plant to be finished in December

By ZACHARY FITZGERALD zfitzgerald@daily-review.com

A new water treatment plant should be in operation by year's end in Patterson and will be more efficient and less costly to operate than the plant that has been serving the city for over 80 years.
Patterson officials are scheduled to receive construction bids March 7 for the new plant, said Clay Breaud of Providence Engineering and Design. Officials hope to finish construction by the end of the year.
Once the new water plant is in operation, the city will be able to treat drinking water more quickly because officials will use a process that requires fewer chemicals to treat water than the old plant, said Public Works Director Steve Bierhorst.
Breaud gave the report during Tuesday's city council meeting for Project Engineer Mo Saleh of Professional Engineering & Environmental Consultants, who was unable to attend the council meeting.
The water plant will replace a facility that is over 80 years old and outdated, said Steve Bierhorst, Patterson's public works director. That antiquated plant has electrical problems, pumping issues and is "kind of hanging on," he said.
But the old plant is "still making great water," and has never been cited for any health violation, Bierhorst said.
Still, the new water plant will be "much more efficient," and the city should save money on electricity, chemicals and other costs, Bierhorst said.
The new plant will be located behind the fire station on Main Street near the old plant. Patterson gets its drinking water from the Lower Atchafalaya River.
Bierhorst and other city officials have toured two water plants in Arkansas that use a similar treatment process.
"We didn't want to build the same old type plant again," Bierhorst said.
Another feature of the new plant is that it will have more automation than the old one, which is entirely manually operated.
Increased automation will likely require only one city employee to monitor the facility at a time instead of multiple employees, as is the case with the current treatment plant, Councilman John Rentrop said.
City officials issued municipal bonds to pay for the plant that is estimated to cost between $4.2 million and $4.7 million. Project leaders hope to break ground on construction of the plant in March or April and have it online by Dec. 17, Bierhorst said.
"We'll get a great Christmas present. The whole city will," Rentrop said.
The new facility will be able to treat 1.5 million gallons of water per day, and city officials could add another 1.5 million gallons of daily output "relatively easy," Bierhorst said.
"When we grow (as a city), we can grow the plant relatively cheap," Bierhorst said.
Discussions to construct a state-of-the-art water treatment facility began in 2009, and planning started in 2012 after Patterson got approval from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for the project.
In other business, the council
—Approved Hattie Watts Elementary to hold its third annual Color Run 8 a.m.-10 a.m. March 18 contingent on the police chief's approval.
—Approved the Krewe of Amani to hold its Lundi Gras parade at 2 p.m. Feb. 27.
—Introduced a flood damage prevention ordinance.
—Introduced an ordinance to enter into a cooperative agreement with Bayou Country Children's Museum in Thibodaux for the donation of a fire truck.

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