St. Tammany Parish Government sees 400% Improvement in Water Quality Indicators in Preliminary Tests
The St. Tammany Parish Department of Environmental Services (DES), in partnership with the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation (LPBF) has nearly completed on-site sewerage system inspections in certain areas of Slidell, as they continue to implement grant-funded initiatives to study and improve the water quality in water bodies throughout St. Tammany. Preliminary testing results following these initiatives show a 400% improvement in biochemical oxygen demand, one of many indicators of water quality.
“Our focus is to improve and maintain the quality of our water, reduce pollution, and preserve our natural resources,” said Pat Brister, St. Tammany Parish President. “We are meeting this challenge where it is, and taking proactive steps to address the issue.”
It is estimated that there are thousands of individual Aerated Treatment Units (ATUs) and septic tanks installed in unincorporated St. Tammany, operated and maintained by homeowners. While these homeowner sewer systems are required to be permitted by the State Department of Health, many fail to meet current, more stringent design standards which could contribute to the decline of surface water quality in the Parish.
As part of these initiatives, and through a decentralized management approach, inspectors have been performing individual, on-site sewerage system inspections in areas of known impaired water quality since October of 2016 with special focus on areas of greatest known impairment.
Inspections were started in the Ozone Woods subdivision in Slidell and are now near completion with additional inspections to follow in the Bayou Liberty Watershed. In the Abita River Watershed, inspections are underway in the Tammany Hills subdivision. In the Bayou Cane Watershed, DES recently completed inspections in the Hidden Pines subdivision in Mandeville and inspections are currently underway in areas of unincorporated Mandeville.
Systems that are found to be out of compliance with applicable laws and regulations will be required to make necessary repair/replacement to fulfill the requirements of the law. Financial assistance may be available for low to moderate income households for repair or replacement. The inspector will leave information with homeowners on the types of financial assistance available and how to qualify.
Data collected in these inspections will be used to assist in determining the best courses of action to take to improve the water quality of our local watersheds for the protection of public health and water resources. In addition, this initiative will help ensure that existing and future on-site sewer systems are properly operated and maintained.
For more information on this project visit, www.stpgov.org/initiatives/water-quality.
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