Has the town contaminated Lake D’Arbonne?

The Town of Farmerville has struggled with its sewage treatment system for many years. Built about 1985, the treatment plant requires regular maintenance to prevent its failure. It also requires regular upgrades to keep pace with an expanding use demand.
The system is comprised of three parts: the collection system consisting of service lines, collection lines, trunk mains and manholes; the pumping system consisting of lift stations to move material from low to high points; and the wastewater treatment plant consisting of bar screens to remove debris, step aeriation to insert oxygen, wet weather lagoon for holding untreated sewage, in-plant lift stations, oxidation ditches, secondary clarifiers, filters, post-aeriation tanks, chlorine chambers and other miscellaneous equipment.
The town has been cited many times by the State Department of Environmental Quality for violations of its operating permits including for releasing untreated sewage from its facilities due to inoperable equipment, inadequate maintenance and meaningful planning for improvement of the facility. On December 8, 2008, the town was found in violation and was put under a Compliance Order. On April 10, 2014, the town received yet another Notice of Violation. These and other violations were brought to the attention of Mayor John T. Crow in April 2021 by Riley Company of Louisiana, Inc. an engineering firm with expertise in wastewater treatment.
Monthly monitoring data reflect that almost all regulated substances at this facility routinely exceed permit limits. Of most concern is the Fecal Coliform discharge which historically exceeds permit limits every month and has for years. The most recent test data made available to the Gazette reflect Fecal count exceeding 150 per cent of the permit limit.
This does not include the runoff from the wet weather lagoon overtopping resulting in raw sewage being dumped and overflowing on to neighboring property not owned by the town. This fecal matter flows into an otherwise beautiful ephemeral stream draining into Lake D’Arbonne and the contamination is evident at the bridge on Eagle Point Drive where some 500,000 gallons released by the town each night passes and sometimes stagnates.


A spokesperson for Eagle Point, the neighboring landowner, reported that he had been trying for years to get the town to address the continuous problem because, even though the town will not provide sewage services to the development, its refusal to address the problem is preventing the development of some two million dollars in potential land sales along this affected drain into the lake because the stream is contaminated with fecal matter, which poses a concern to everyone using the lake where all of the contaminated flow goes. Estimates of tax base created by Eagle Point alone is some $25,000,000, yet no town sewage service has been provided by the town there.
Even though the town will not provide sewage services to Eagle Point, Mayor Crow urged, and the town council approved bringing sewage services and other infrastructure to property owned by TTR, LLC which owns about 100 acres connecting to Lake D’Arbonne at the bridge on La 33/15.
Addition of the TTR property to sewage treatment demands will further worsen the demand on the already failed system. The Riley company estimated some $6,000,000.00 in needed sewage capital outlay to address needs in that sector, which is essential to keep Lake D’Arbonne clean. It is unlikely the town has funds to meet this need. Apparently, the town has other priorities.
The Gazette requested an interview from town officials on this and other matters but no such interview has yet to be conducted.

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