Delta Regional Authority awards grant for renovated lift station

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Nathan Wilson | Reporter
Delta Regional Authority (DRA) selected the City of Natchitoches to receive $400,000 in grant funding to renovate a wastewater lift station on Keyser Avenue. The City of Natchitoches will contribute $65,000, or roughly 14 percent of the renovation cost.
The lift station is one of 81 projects funded by the DRA across eight states centered around the Mississippi River delta. With 17 projects funded, Louisiana was awarded the most, and Natchitoches Parish will benefit from a second grant issued to expand service from Sabine water district #1. Funds for the lift station are administered through DRA’s SEDAP program, which prioritizes regional impacts and job creation and retention.
Natchitoches Utilities Director Mike Anderson indicated the city has about 54 lift stations, and explained why lift stations are needed. “You’ve heard the expression crap runs downhill? Well it does,” he said. He pointed out that East Natchitoches relies on lift stations more than West Natchitoches. “West Natchitoches has much more gravity sewer because of hills, just natural elevation change,” he explained. “East Natchitoches across Cane River is very, very flat so you can only gravity flow it so far,” he said.

This article published in the March 5, 2022, print edition

The purpose of the lift station is to pump sewerage up toward the surface, so it can continue flowing towards the treatment site. Anderson explained, “It’s running down to a lower elevation and then its pumped back to a higher elevation and again it flows to a lower elevation and then the next lift station has pumps that have to be larger.”
As Natchitoches grows eastward, the lift station needs to grow too. Anderson indicated the renovation is a forwarding thinking way to replace aging infrastructure. “We will not only rebuild that lift station because it’s old, but we’re going to make it larger.” Anderson cited the Natchitoches Community Care Center as one reason to increase capacity. The renovated lift station will have greater capacity to service the new location of the Care Center along with additional development.
Despite its age, Anderson said there is no need for residents to be concerned about the current station. “It’s not backing up, it’s not malfunctioning… It’s there and operating,” he said.
The lift station qualified for SEDAP funding because construction of the Natchitoches Community Care Center is projected to create 30 new jobs and retain an additional 20 jobs while benefitting 6,222 families. Anderson pointed to another benefit provided by the grant. “What that grant’s going to do is allow us to do more than we had initially intended, so not a bad deal for the city. We get $465,000 worth of work for $65,000.”