LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - Not even a month after Hurricane Laura, Cameron Parish is dealing with the aftermath of yet another storm, Tropical Storm Beta.
Water retained from the storm stalled and even reversed some of the progress that Cameron Parish had made just weeks prior.
“We only pump in emergency situations or state of emergencies,” said Ryan Mallory, Vice President for the Gravity Drainage Board District 3. “We pumped after Laura to de-water, to get it down enough to bring the infrastructure back in, and essentially, we have to start all the way back over from point A with Beta from the initial surge of it.”
Mallory says Gravity Drainage usually operates through flap gates, but with parish pumps damaged from the storm, that’s not enough in this situation.
“You can have - with saltwater intrusion into the marsh - is a lot of times, you can have a high tide period where it wants to hold the gate shut, and the water’s only way to escape the marsh is to evaporate. So it would leave more salt in the marsh."
The trapped saltwater would not only erode the marsh, it would also delay the recovery process for the parish.
“If the ditches are too full, we can’t have our gas line people coming in,” Mallory said. “The electric people, many of the poles are on the edge of the ditches. I mean, everything runs along the road, including the ditch. If the ditches are overflowed, they can’t get in.”
There are six emergency pumps being delivered to pump waters as soon as possible, and Gravity Drainage has pumped water for two weeks, after Hurricane Laura.
For Tropical Storm Beta, they’re hoping to complete pumping within a week.