Former DPW worker: taxpayers to pay for massive sewer system

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Posted: Sep 16, 2010 6:09 PM by Stephanie Ryan
Updated: Sep 16, 2010 6:45 PM
Source: WBRZ

  Rating: 4.0 (1 vote)

Topics: Baton Rouge, sewer overflow, Wet Weather Capacity Improvement Project, Mayor Kip Holden, DPW, Department of Public Works, Jim Atteberry, sewage

The Wet Weather Capacity Treatment Project is slated to stop sewage from overflowing onto Baton Rouge Streets, something that has been a problem for years and has cost the city more than $2.5 million since 2006. The EPA demanded the city stop the sewage problem.

It will include two new pumps, an odor control system, and a new treatment facility that's quieter than most.

Mayor Kip Holden said it will bring jobs to the area as it is built.

But former Department of Public Works Assistant Chief Engineer Jim Atteberry wonders who will foot the bill, a bill he said doubled from $600 million to $1.2 billion when Mayor Holden took office.

Atteberry said Holden dismissed a committee put in place to keep checks on the cost, then added extras to the project without any public input.

Holden said the sewer user fee will not increase, but Atteberry is still leery about the price tag.

"The people should've had some say-so before they went ahead with the project," Atteberry said.

Bryan Harmon with DPW believes it is doing the right thing.

"It's good for the community. That is not the reason it's being done. Well, to some extent it is. We want to improve health, safety, and the welfare of our community, but in the end it is to comply with the EPA consent decree," Harmon said.

Holden maintains the sewer user fee will not increase. Harmon expects that fee to end by 2014.

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