St. Tammany Parish Department of Environmental Services Receives Environmental Leadership Award for Successful Water Quality Project
Pat Brister, St. Tammany Parish President, announced today that the St. Tammany Parish Department of Environmental Services (DES) was awarded with the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality 2019 Outstanding Achievement Award at this year’s Environmental Leadership Award Ceremony. St. Tammany Government’s DES won the State’s only Outstanding Achievement Award for their forward-thinking Decentralized Management Program in the Bayou Liberty Watershed, in the Slidell area. This program, funded in part by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), reduced pollution and increased septic system compliance in the targeted subdivision, through the inspection and repair of home septic systems as well as outreach and education on the proper installation, maintenance and use of these septic systems. Because of the success of the pilot program, a Parish-wide Decentralized Management Program was developed.
“I am extremely proud of our Environmental Services team. This program not only enhanced the quality of the water in the subdivision itself, but also increased the quality of life in the area as well,” said Pat Brister, St. Tammany Parish President. “This program is a sound, smart and innovative way to make a real impact on the lives of our citizens. It is a perfect example of how your Parish Government is leading the way in tackling a problem, with huge success. We are committed to continuing this program, where we will see continual improvements in water quality all around the Parish”
The DES team chose the Bayou Liberty Watershed because it is identified on the EPA’s §303(d) List of Impaired Waterbodies. Before the start of the project, the condition of subdivision ditches were poor with black, septic, foul-smelling water throughout. Door-to-door inspections revealed an initial 59% failure rate of the systems, including 132 unpermitted septic tanks. At the conclusion of the project, the majority of identified repairs had been made, over 80 of the septic tanks were replaced, and water quality improved significantly. A 400% reduction in Biochemical Oxygen Demand, indicating an improvement in overall water quality, was observed in Bayou Liberty, and the ditches are now clear. This resulted in an improvement in the overall quality of life in the subdivision, as well as newly formed relationships with residences who were receptive to the process.
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