Ward 2 Water District Invests in $3 Million Expansion
DWRLF Loan Allows District to Improve Services for New Customers
DENHAM SPRINGS, La. – Livingston Parish’s Ward 2 Water District is now bringing improved quality water service to residents in Port Vincent and surrounding areas thanks to a $3 million loan from the Drinking Water Revolving Loan Fund program.
The low-interest loan is allowing the state’s largest rural water district to connect nearly 500 additional water customers into its system, giving residents in the South Walker, South Denham Springs and Port Vincent areas better access to reliable service and better pressure. The district has installed nearly 5,000 feet of piping to connect customers to their system, and it has put all new customers on a metered system.
“In addition to taking in smaller, aged water systems in the area, we are also making our services available to many residents who currently have private wells,” said Barry LeJeune, manager of Ward 2 Water District. “This expansion is bringing more reliable service to the area and creating the necessary infrastructure to make more improvements in the future.”
LeJeune said the new piping runs from Highway 447 near the Highway 16 intersection into the Village of Port Vincent.
He noted that the district recently purchased the water customers of the Village of Port Vincent, as well as four other smaller systems that serve residents off Highway 16, Highway 447, and Highway 42. Those customers were previously reliant upon single water well systems and paid a flat fee for service.
The new connections to Ward 2 Water will allow customers to be billed through an individualized meter system, which better accounts for usage and allows the district and customers to manage costs more reliably.
The connections also give the new customers access to the district’s system of sophisticated wells and elevated tanks that ensure uninterrupted water service. The water district also plans on improving pressure vessels in the system to enhance water flow and sustain strong pressure for area customers.
With the increase of about 500 water customers, Ward 2 Water District now services approximately 22,300 homes and businesses in Livingston Parish.
“The Drinking Water Revolving Loan Fund has provided an affordable way for the residents of this water system to expand, bringing more reliable service and quality water to more residents,” said LDH State Health Officer Dr. Jimmy Guidry.
“Safe drinking water is fundamental to community health, and this program helps communities throughout Louisiana keep their water as safe as possible without placing an undue burden in the form of expensive financing,” Guidry added.
Joel McKenzie, program manager for Louisiana’s DWRLF program, said the low-interest loan program utilized by Ward 2 Ward is available to public and privately-owned, community and non-profit, non-community water systems. He said the program is currently offering up to 30 percent forgiveness of the loan principal with a maximum amount of $200,000 per project.
McKenzie noted that all loan projects are approved based upon a priority ranking system. Projects that address the most serious risks to human health and those that ensure compliance with the Safe Drinking Water Act are given the highest priority, he said.
Congress established state Drinking Water Revolving Loan Fund programs in 1996 as part of the amendments to the Safe Drinking Water Act. The program is jointly funded by an annual grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (80 percent) and the individual participating states (20 percent). In Louisiana, it is administered by LDH’s Office of Public Health.
The Louisiana Department of Health strives to protect and promote health statewide and to ensure access to medical, preventive and rehabilitative services for all state citizens. To learn more about LDH, visit www.ldh.louisiana.gov. For up-to-date health information, news and emergency updates, follow LDH's Twitter account and Facebook.