Pipe replacement to improve downtown Lake Charles wastewater system

Published: Aug. 17, 2021 at 9:46 PM CDT
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Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - If you’ve traveled anywhere in Downtown Lake Charles, you’ve probably noticed gravel-filled squares in the road.

These squares are part of a $2 million project by the City of Lake Charles in an effort to help repair the wastewater system.

“Having an updated and state-of-the-art wastewater system is important for any 21st-century city,” said Lake Charles Mayor Nic Hunter.

The City is in the process of updating the sewage pipes which are nearly a century old.

“By replacing all of these pipes and putting one solid pipe in the ground, we eliminate a lot of the cracks and joints that are in the pipes so that when there is a flood situation, a lot of extra water that is infiltration or inflow of water is not allowed in a sewer, and that helps our treatment plants make better water,” said Utility Manager for the City of Lake Charles Kevin Heise.

Director of Planning and Engineering Mike Huber said when they find these problem areas, they study them.

“We try to go in there, find it, study it and find what’s going on to make corrections,” Huber said. “Many times what we find is that the line may be collapsed or there’s just a lot of leaks into the line so when it rains, water is pouring into the line, and it overloads our system.”

Mayor Hunter said these are measures that need to be taken.

“These are the proactive measure that we try to take, even though we can’t see it every day. These are the things that need to happen to really get our city up to where we need it to be from an infrastructure standpoint,” Hunter said.

The gravel squares residents are seeing in streets downtown are where crews are going in and replacing pipes.

Mayor Hunter wants to assure residents that what they see now is not the finished product.

“You will see some areas with some patches of gravel. I don’t want the public to think that is the end product. We will come back over that and replace it with concrete or pavement to make sure that it’s a smooth surface, but certainly these patches of gravel that you see in downtown Lake Charles today, that’s not going to be there for the longterm. That’s just temporary,” Hunter said.

This project is expected to last roughly 60 to 90 more days.

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