Environmentalists clash over dumping treated wastewater into wet - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Environmentalists clash over dumping treated wastewater into wetlands

FOX 8 Photo FOX 8 Photo
MANDEVILLE, LA (WVUE) -

The flow of treated wastewater into wetlands and who monitors the practice has sent a wave of controversy throughout Louisiana's environmental community. 

For nearly a decade, Mandeville's Public Works Department has pumped treated wastewater into local wetlands. It is a practice called treated wastewater assimilation. 

The Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality says it bolsters wetlands, stating: "The introduction of nutritionally rich wastewater to natural wetlands is beneficial in that it stimulates productivity in the wetland...Proper management and monitoring is a key component of all wetland assimilation projects."

"Based on the scientists that we have working for us, we have seen some positives in this marsh and the Tchefuntche marsh," Mandeville Public Works Director David DeGeneres said. "We've seen some growth in the wetland...We have not seen any major problems with our marsh. We feel we have a healthy marsh."

Next week, Mandeville will look at renewing its permit with DEQ. 

Thursday night, DEQ will meet with residents to discuss the issue. 

Wastewater assimilation was accepted among most of the scientific community, but after 300 acres of wetlands vanished near Hammond, scientists with the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation started to question the project. 

"We all know how bad our coastal crisis is. To basically have something that contributes to that would be a bad decision," LPBF's John Lopez said. "It's kind of disconcerting to us. It kind of looks like what happened in Hammond may be happening in Mandeville."

"These projects in many instances seem to be a detriment to that philosophy and that protection for the future," Louisiana Wildlife Federation Executive Director Rebecca Triche said. "Until there is independent monitoring and a better assessment of the cost and benefits of these types of projects, we wouldn't want to see new projects come online."

LPBF and LWF believe pumping the treated wastewater negatively impacts wetlands. The organizations want the state to stop issuing new permits. One area of concern for LPBF and LWF is that the company who designs and constructs these systems also monitors them to see if they are beneficial. 

"It's not necessarily particularly about Comite (Resources Inc.), but basically anytime you have one organization that's designing, overseeing construction and also monitoring it - and basically they're doing that - it does create a conflict of interest," Lopez said.

"If you have monitoring by the people who designed it, that's just not the kind of data that we want to see. That tells us there was an unbiased assessment," Triche said. 

DEQ stands by Comite Resources Inc.'s monitoring and data. 

Comite Resources Inc. did not return FOX 8's request for comment. 

DeGeneres said he works closely with Comite Resources for guidance in maintaining the system and the state's permitting process. 

"One way to solve this is to get an independent person to come and review both sides and say hey who is right and who is wrong. We feel we are right. Our science shows that we have a healthy marsh," DeGeneres said. 

DeGeneres argues the wetlands near Hammond were destroyed by nutria. 

Lopez and Triche believe nutria were only part of the problem. 

Copyright 2017 WVUE. All rights reserved.

  • More Local NewsNewsMore>>

  • State Offices Closed Tomorrow in 35 Parishes

    State Offices Closed Tomorrow in 35 Parishes

    State Offices Closed Tomorrow in 35 Parishes

    Monday, January 15 2018 10:41 PM EST2018-01-16 03:41:30 GMT
    Courtesy of Google ImagesCourtesy of Google Images

    Due to possible extreme winter weather, state offices are closed Tomorrow in 35 Parishes. This news comes from the  Louisiana Commissioner of Administration, Jay Dardenne. Parish closings include: Allen Avoyelles Beauregard  Bossier Caddo Calcasieu Cameron Concordia Claiborne De Soto Evangeline Grant  Iberia Jackson Jeff Davis La Salle Lafayette  Lincoln  Morehouse Natchitoches Ouachita  Pointe  Coupee Rapides Red R...

    More >>

    Due to possible extreme winter weather, state offices are closed Tomorrow in 35 Parishes. This news comes from the  Louisiana Commissioner of Administration, Jay Dardenne. Parish closings include: Allen Avoyelles Beauregard  Bossier Caddo Calcasieu Cameron Concordia Claiborne De Soto Evangeline Grant  Iberia Jackson Jeff Davis La Salle Lafayette  Lincoln  Morehouse Natchitoches Ouachita  Pointe  Coupee Rapides Red R...

    More >>
  • BREAKING

    SCHOOL CLOSURES: McNeese, SOWELA, all public schools closed Tuesday

    SCHOOL CLOSURES: McNeese, SOWELA, all public schools closed Tuesday

    Monday, January 15 2018 9:52 PM EST2018-01-16 02:52:55 GMT
    (Source: KPLC)(Source: KPLC)

    List of school closures for Jan. 16, 2018.

    More >>

    List of school closures for Jan. 16, 2018.

    More >>
  • State, parish and Entergy monitor winter weather needs

    State, parish and Entergy monitor winter weather needs

    Monday, January 15 2018 8:51 PM EST2018-01-16 01:51:02 GMT

    State and parish officials, along with Entergy crews are watching the weather - and are ready to respond if needed to help keep people safe. Some think back to the ice storm twenty years ago, and more recently, the snow that covered Southwest Louisiana in December. While cold weather preps are not routine here, emergency officials have had more experience lately. First alert meteorologist Ben Terry says when talking about winter weather in south Louisiana,  expect the...

    More >>

    State and parish officials, along with Entergy crews are watching the weather - and are ready to respond if needed to help keep people safe. Some think back to the ice storm twenty years ago, and more recently, the snow that covered Southwest Louisiana in December. While cold weather preps are not routine here, emergency officials have had more experience lately. First alert meteorologist Ben Terry says when talking about winter weather in south Louisiana,  expect the...

    More >>
Powered by Frankly