Ridgecrest officials continue to battle problems associated with its aging water plant.
One of the plant’s filters recently went down but has been repaired, Mayor Veller Ray Carroll told the Town Council meeting during the regular meeting Tuesday night.
The faulty filter was blamed for the “bad water” residents received Monday, Carroll said.
“One filter broke,” Carroll said. “We worked on it and got it back up. We are producing good water but still have some bad water from the night before, and we will be flushing it out.”
Ridgecrest’s water plant has been a major problem area for over a year with breaks plaguing the village and JCP officials. JCP, based out of Harrisonburg, is the company assigned to managing Ridgecrest’s water system.
“Y’all are aware that we have something everyday, 24-7, with that plant,” Carroll said.
Last month in a town hall meeting, Carroll went over two temporary plant repairs.
A temporary repair would be to recharge plant filters and refurbish valves at a cost of $12,000 to $15,000 to rebuild both filters, Carroll said.
“This is just a band aid,” Carroll said.
Second option mentioned last month at the town hall meeting would be to borrow money to fund an interim tie in with Ferriday’s water system. The project would cost approximately $130,000 and would have to be financed through a lending institution.
The borrowed money may not be covered in an approved USDA loan / grant.
Last year, Ridgecrest was approved for a USDA loan / grant totaling $999,000 to fund the tie in. Of the total amount approved by the USDA, $565,000 is a loan and $434,000 is a grant.
In other business, Alderwoman Mitzi Boyler amended the agenda and made a motion to require village employees wear identification when traveling and working in Ridgecrest. The motion passed.
Before the motion passed, a heated discussion between Carroll and citizens surfaced in regards to a sewer leak near Ridgecrest.
“The sewer leak was not on Ridgecrest,” Carroll said. “I don’t know how many times I have to tell everybody. That is not us. We did not have a leak. We do not have a leak. We do not have a sewer problem in Ridgecrest in itself.”
The motion passed while citizens intensely argued there was a break in the sewer system.
Last week, Debi Duncan, district manager for Concordia Parish Sewer District #1, said its sewer plant had recently gone through a major repair after a leak was discovered. A cast iron flange was replaced at the plant when a leak was discovered.
“The leak is completely fixed,” Duncan said. “This was a long-term fix, and everything was replaced with new parts. This was a major deal for us.”
Officials from Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality have signed off on repairs and Concordia Parish Sewer District #1 was not fined, Duncan said.
“The leak at our sewer plant did not cause the smell in Ridgecrest,” Duncan said.
The smell has been blamed on recent heavy rains washing chicken and goat waste into ditches located near Ridgecrest.
After passing the motion, aldermen went into executive session to discuss personnel matters while citizens continued to discuss sewer related issues.
Upon leaving a 15-minute executive session, aldermen agreed to give Ridgecrest village clerk a $1 per hour raise along with approving mayor, aldermen and chief of police salaries.
Ridgecrest mayor will make $600 per month, aldermen $150 and chief of police $500. The salaries are the same as last year.
Meanwhile, aldermen approved Stewart Boyken, of Vidalia, as Ridgecrest’s lawyer. Boyken will be working for a $250 monthly retainer fee.
In other action, it was announced that John Smith is now officially chief of police after a 90-probation period.