The Town of Saint Joseph, Louisiana, is a town of approximately 1,050 persons located on the western bank of the Mississippi River in sparsely populated Tensas Parish, Louisiana. The town is located in an economically disadvantaged area, and 40% of the persons in the town live below the poverty line.
For years, the Town suffered with deteriorating water treatment and distribution infrastructure. The town’s source water is produced from the alluvial aquifer and as such is high in iron and manganese content. The high concentrations of iron and manganese in the source water provided significant challenges for treatment in terms of meeting secondary standards. This also contributed to a high corrosivity of the finished water.
The water crisis in St. Joseph lends many lessons related to the difficulties faced by small and large water systems in rural environments in our time. The project team dealt with technical and design challenges, construction challenges, funding constraints, time constraints, and regulatory constraints throughout the process. Through close teamwork and coordination between the owner, engineer, construction manager, contractors, state, local, and federal agencies, the water crisis ultimately became a major success for the stakeholders in the Town and provided a blueprint for addressing such crises in the future. Lessons learned in St. Joseph will be applicable on a small and large scale throughout the United States in the era of aging water infrastructure.
In this session, participants will be presented an overview of the state of the Town’s water system prior to and after construction, as well as an overview of the new treatment process and applicability to other aquifer systems. Additionally, participants will be presented with the lessons learned during the crisis, including regulatory involvement, use of multiple funding sources, early owner procurement of long lead time equipment, and alternate project delivery. Additionally, participants will be presented with an outlook of the future of small and large water systems as well as recommendations for the future of water systems.
Speaker: David A. Martin, P.E.
Vice President H. Davis Cole & Associates, LLC
Mr. Martin serves as Vice President of H. Davis Cole & Associates, LLC (HDCA), a civil and environmental engineering firm headquartered in New Orleans, Louisiana. Under Mr. Martin’s direction, HDCA provides design engineering and analyses; field investigations; construction management; construction inspection; computer modeling; environmental documentation; permitting; and regulatory support to private, municipal, and governmental clients across the southeast United States. The primary areas of expertise for the firm are drainage, potable water distribution and treatment, roadway improvements, and wastewater collection and treatment. Additionally, a large portion of the firm’s workload has been in the federally funded capital repair sector, including large scale disaster recovery program and project management, design, eligibility assessment, and inspection services.
Mr. Martin began with the firm as a student intern in 2007 and currently serves as a Vice President overseeing engineering services. Mr. Martin’s areas of expertise include the realms of civil and mechanical design, and he has provided these services in the wastewater, water, drainage, structural, and roadway disciplines during his tenure at HDCA. Mr. Martin’s current focus is on project and program management with an emphasis on standards and quality control within the design product