The Town of Jonesboro is on the move an effort to make improvements for its citizens. Mayor Leslie Thompson and Public Works Director Calvin Wortham are hard at work in an effort to make improvements to the town’s infrastructure which includes both wastewater and drinking water systems. One of the largest ongoing issues faced by the Town of Jonesboro is infrastructure improvement.
The water and sewer systems of the town have had little to no work performed on either of the systems in many years. This has resulted in the many issues the Town has experienced with erupting water lines, sewer lines backing up and other issues naturally caused by age and neglect of the system. Public works employees work diligently in an effort to keep the systems operating at an optimal level but the lack of funding affects just how much they are able to do.
Approximately two years ago an assessment was conducted of the aging wastewater collection system. This study was made to determine the needs and to seek strategies for funding the work needed to bring the aging wastewater system up to standards required by Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (LDEQ) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
The water department has worked to improve its operations to continue the delivery of safe drinking water to the valued customers with minimal interruption. Prior to February 2019, the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals (LDHH) cited many defects and deficiencies that were problematic and required immediate attention. An assessment of the Town’s treatment and water systems determined that all of the Town’s water wells need upgrading and improvements. We have installed several new pumps and generators in our efforts to upgrade and keep the system operating. There is still more work to be done to upgrade the aging system and to keep it operating at an optimal level. We understand the issues and challenges of the town’s aging systems and have secured the following grants to address these issues. We have been busy seeking out and applying for grant funding to address the problems.
To date the Town of Jonesboro has been awarded the following grants:
• LGAP (Louisiana Government Assistance Program) applied for by the Jackson Parish Police Jury on behalf of the town. This grant of $45,700 will be applied towards upgrades and repairs to the Terrell Lift Stations.
• LGAP grant of $20,000 will be applied towards matching funds required for the Capital Outlay Grant
• Capital Outlay Well Rehab for Tank #1 requested $650,000
• Community water Enrichment Fund (CWEF) has awarded $35,000 to be used at the Patterson Street Pump Station.
• Louisiana Community Development Block Grant (LCDBG) Public facilities Grant in the amount of $1,199,451 has been awarded to repair and improve the south oxidation pond and to repair 3 major lift stations.
• We have been awarded two grants for the Jonesboro Airport. One is a pass through grant dedicated to obstruction removal in the amount of $181,770. The other is the Airport CARE’s Grant which is dedicated to improvements at the airport.
The total grants awarded in the last two years total $2,151,921. All but $201,770 of the grant awards are dedicated to improvements to the town’s infrastructure. While we have made much progress, we realize that there is still much to be done in order to get where we need to be to have the town’s wastewater and fresh water systems operating at the highest quality level.