ST. FRANCISVILLE — The Board of Aldermen quickly disposed of one item of business March 23, approving a resolution telling state environmental regulators the town is working on a new sewage treatment plant.

The meeting lasted less than 15 minutes, the second short meeting of the month. On March 9, the board quickly voted to fire part-time police officer William Herrin, 60, without mentioning his name.

Herrin, who also was fired as a West Feliciana Parish sheriff’s deputy, was arrested earlier on 50 counts of possessing child pornography in an investigation announced by the state attorney general.

The resolution to the Department of Environmental Quality says the mayor and board of aldermen have reviewed a pollution audit report for 2020 and the town is investigating options for relocating the town’s sewage treatment plant.

DEQ requires municipal sewerage operators to conduct an annual self-audit. The agency does not require the operator to submit the audit report, however, but keep it on file.

The audit points to the need for a new treatment plant as town officials said last year in persuading voters to approve a new half-cent sales tax to move the aerated treatment ponds out of the Mississippi River floodplain.

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Engineer Bianca Hillhouse reported that environmental assessments have begun on the proposed location for the treatment plant and its outflow pipe to the river.

The audit format assigns points in seven grading areas, but points are assessed for deficiencies.

St. Francisville’s audit has totaled 345 points for the past two years, “which is high,” she said.

The worst possible score is 560 points.

The level of pollution coming from the plant was unknown for a portion of the year, because the Mississippi River’s high levels prevented the system from operating from January through June 2020, the audit report says.

The only areas that did not result in penalty points were in sludge disposal and operator certification and training.