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Cleaner waterways coming to Ascension Parish with plans for new sewer plant

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ASCENSION- Plans are in the works to stop dumping three million gallons of treated wastewater into Bayou Manchac and other scenic waterways as plans move forward in Ascension Parish with a parish-wide sewer for much of the east bank.

Tom Pertuit, Chief Operating Officer at National Water Infrastructure said the plan will divert treated wastewater from the bayous and rivers to a single treatment facility that will be constructed in the parish's industrial corridor near the Mississippi River.

"Most of the parish's sewer treatment plants discharge into the parish waterways which means it discharges into the drainage waterways," Pertuit said. "The drainage systems are overrun because the nutrients in the sewer promote grass growth."

National Water Infrastructure is currently negotiating a deal to make it happen. Voters would need to approve the sale of the parish's existing sewer assets, and the council would need to approve the plan for the rest of the parish to join NWI. What this would do to rates is still uncertain as the public service commission would need to review everything.

"We will be consolidating all of the sewer treatment plants around the parish most of which we own into one major artery going from Highway 44 and 42 all the way down to 73 to the Mississippi River," Pertuit said.

Ira Jarman is an avid fisherman who has been fishing the waters of Bayou Manchac for more than a decade. To hear that wastewater is being discharged into the waterways he fishes for food is unsettling, but not enough for him to stop fishing.

"Got corona out here, got a lot of stuff out here that we got to be ducking and dodging," Jarman said. "It's not just in the water. It's in the air and in some of the food we eat."

Jarman said although he's concerned about the wastewater, he's not going to stress.

"I'm worried about it, but I can't do nothing about it," Jarman said. "I got to eat."

The first phase of the sewer project would not include the cities of Gonzales, Sorrento, and Donaldsonville.

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