Zachary council approves payments for sewer work

The Zachary City Council voted Tuesday to approve payments of $959,000 to Grady Crawford Construction Co. for sewer improvement work, part of which is for the cost of upgrades to two lift stations.

The city-parish required the lift station upgrades, Mayor David Amrhein said after the meeting, and will take the lift stations over once those improvements are made.

The city plans to tie some of its sewer lines in with the East Baton Rouge Parish system.

East Baton Rouge will reimburse Zachary for the $375,000 cost of upgrading the lift stations, Amrhein said.

He said redirecting some of the sewer lines should reduce backups in Zachary.

The city-parish has the resources to maintain larger lift stations than Zachary could handle on its own, Amrhein said.

“This is all for growth,” the mayor said.

In a related matter, the council tabled an ordinance to borrow up to $5 million for continuing work on the municipal sewer system.

The city’s petition to borrow the money must be approved by the federal government and the paperwork has been delayed due to the government shutdown in October, the mayor said.

The city plans to borrow the money from the Department of Environmental Quality at an interest rate not to exceed .95 percent. The proposed loan would be an extension of the $9.3 million the city borrowed from the DEQ at the same interest rate in 2012.

In other matters, Public Works Director Chris Davezac reminded people to be aware of natural gas safety and to “call before you dig.” His comments were part of an effort by the city to alert the public to the dangers.

Three out of five homes in the United States are heated with natural gas and Zachary has 4,600 gas customers. The 1/2-3/4 inch pipes are two feet below the surface. Most are bright yellow plastic, although a few of the older pipes are metal.

Residents and contractors should call Louisiana One Call at 811 before digging to avoid possible damage to lines, Davezac said. The colorless, odorless gas has a chemical with a rotten egg smell added, and anyone detecting such an odor should call the city immediately, he said.