Rising under-the-surface groundwater levels are an unseen but not unknown issue in Bossier Parish — compromising streets, exacerbating flooding and causing sewer systems to fail.
Parish engineer Butch Ford told members of the parish police jury’s Road/Subdivision Regulations Committee Wednesday that the higher groundwater is particularly acute in areas between the Red River and local bayous.
Citing a problem reported in one subdivision, Ford said a contractor was called to remove sand that was invading a lift station. After running a scan on the lines, three failures caused by sagging, separated pipes were found.
“We cannot dig a hole because it fills with groundwater. The same issue occurred in another subdivision. We’ve been pumping for a week and we still can’t get down to the lines,” Ford said. “Lines sagging like this is new to us and we’re trying to get a handle on it.”
Another subdivision has applied to tie onto this sewer line that is failing, he added.
Groundwater that has risen to a depth of four feet in some “river bottom” areas is causing the problem, Ford said. And, he added, it’s a continuing problem that has become very expensive.
“Over the last three years we have paid $300,000 for a failure in Kingston Plantation, and we had another last year for about $200,000,” Ford said. “There was another in Kingston this year.”
Ford said changes were going to be necessary because, “We simply cannot keep taking hits like this. There can’t be more building in the river bottom until we figure this thing out.”
A meeting with engineers who have experience in the area and the parish staff is being planned within the next 30 days, Ford told committee members. Also, his staff has requested and received sewer line specifications from Jefferson Parish where similar problems have plagued officials.
“We’re going to put our heads together and try to come up with answers to this problem. We’re probably going to come to the jury with new specifications for the systems. We’ve already had to institute new specifications for our roads because of groundwater,” he said.
Ford said the parish is planning to team with LSU to study the groundwater in the river bottom to learn if it’s on the rise, stable or declining. Because of the current situation, new subdivision units in the area must take borings to determine the water level under roads and sewer lines.
“If this groundwater keeps going like it’s going we’re not going to be able to accept any sewer lines in the system. We can’t take this hit,” Ford said. “We’re about to start fixing another problem and how many problems do we have that we’re not even aware of yet. It’s too expensive for us to maintain all this”
During Wednesday’s regular meeting, police jury members:
- Awarded bid for official journal of the Bossier Parish Police Jury for the period July 1, 2019, through June 30, 2020 to Bossier Press Tribune.
- Approved plat of the proposed development of Pe-Bell subdivision, unit 1-A, a resubdivision of lot 22, Pe-Bell subdivision.
- Scheduled a public hearing on July 3 to consider the application of HRWN Bossier, LLC, to the Bossier City-Parish Metropolitan Planning Commission, for a zoning amendment to change the zoning classification of 14.5 acres, more or less, located in from I-1, Light Industrial District, to I-2, Heavy Industrial District, for Approach Environmental Services.
- Scheduled a public hearing on July 3 to consider approval of the plat of the proposed development of Wright’s Way subdivision.
- Scheduled a public hearing on July 3 to consider approval of a petition submitted by Ms. Courtnie Nelson for a variance to place an additional home on property located on Lots 1 and 2, Vealwood subdivision, as a temporary use to provide care for a family member living in an existing home.
- After report on meeting of the Property Standards Board of Review, voted to hold condemnation hearings on four parish properties.
- Ratified and accepted recommendation of the Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Unit board of appeals on May 14.
- Approved application of Abdulnasser Algahim for a 2019 Bossier Parish beer license at Roger’s Four Corners, 6511 Highway 80, Princeton, LA.
- Heard report from Parish Administrator Bill Altimus on the status of “Keep Bossier Beautiful” campaign.
- Agreed to assist the Shreveport Bossier Sports Commission with costs associated with the FIVB Women’s Indoor Volleyball Olympic qualifier scheduled for August 2-4 at the CenturyLink Center; one of four sites in world for volleyball qualifying events.
- Reappointed James Armitage and Ken Plummer to the Cyber Innovation Center board for five year terms each, terms to expire July 1, 2024.
- Accepted the resignation of Jeff Wyatt from the Benton Fire District No. 4 Board of Commissioners effective May 21.
- Appointed Jay Valentine to the Benton Fire District No. 4 Board of Commissioners to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of Jeff Wyatt, term to expire December 31, 2019.
- Nominated William David Jones for appointment of Bossier Parish representative to the Red River Waterway Commission.
- Adopted resolution indicating the intention of the Bossier Parish Police Jury to become a participating political subdivision in the Louisiana Local Government Environmental Facilities and Community Development Authority and approve the reappointment of Jack Skaggs as police jury representative to the Board of Directors for said authority.
- Adopted resolution providing for the adoption of plans and policies, approving appointments and authorizing individuals, in accordance with the FY2019 Louisiana Community Development Block Grant Program for sewer improvements.
- Adopted resolution authorizing the execution of any and all documents in connection with the rate study request from the Louisiana Rural Water Association for FY2019 LCDBG Sewer Improvements – Merrywoods Subdivision.
- Ratified approval of proposal from Nixon Engineering Solutions, LLC, for services to investigate and document current drainage capacity of existing ditches at the corner of Dogwood Trail and Wildbriar Circle.
- Approved proposal from Nixon Engineering Solutions, LLC, for services to investigate and document potential impacts to the drainage capacity of the existing storm drainage system due to an additional inlet along Glendale Lane.
- Approved amendment No. 1 of the proposal from Coyle Engineering Co., Inc., for engineering services for the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program, project #349, Bossier Parish – Willow Chute Bayou drainage improvements.
- Approved change order No. 1 for Kingston Road at Louisiana Highway 3 and Kingston Road at Airline Drive Turn Lanes.
- Approved proposal of Civil Design Group, LLC, for additional surveying and engineering services for Linton Road extension to Fairburn Avenue.
- Consider proposal of Civil Design Group, LLC, for surveying and engineering services for Benton Road improvements at I-220.
Photo: Butch Ford shows police jury committee members a damaged sewer line. Via the Bossier Parish Police Jury