Richard N. Lee, III

Richard N. Lee, III

PORT ALLEN — Mayor Richard Lee says it's time the city seriously consider building a new wastewater treatment facility because it's no longer financially sensible to make repairs to Port Allen's current sewage plant.  

"The facility we have is inadequate and outdated," Lee told City Council  members at committee meetings Wednesday night. "We're having a lot of problems. We can't continue to sink money into a system that's deteriorating."

The city has spent an estimated $500,000 over the last few years on repairs to the wastewater treatment plant near the intersection of 14th and Court streets, and on upgrades to the more than 50-year-old sewer lines that connect homes and businesses to the system. 

"This is just the beginning stage of trying to make a change," Lee said. "We need to start thinking of locations to relocate the plant. Prior to my coming into office, land was purchased for a new facility, but it was sold."

The council didn't dive too deep into the matter Wednesday night, offering no plausible sites for a new plant.  But the members appeared to be in support of the mayor's suggestion. 

Councilwoman Ray Helen Lawrence did say she'd prefer a new facility to be built outside the city limits — far from residential communities. 

That might be a challenge because there isn't much undeveloped land in Port Allen and the city is landlocked pretty much on all sides. 

City officials estimate building a new wastewater treatment plant could cost up to $10 million. How the city would pay for the project is also yet to be determined. 

"I put this on the agenda so we can start the discussions," Lee said. 

"I think it's good news," Councilman Brandon Brown said in response. "I'm happy we're moving in that direction." 

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