City gets $15,170,000 loan for sewer infrastructure

DERON TALLEY, EDITOR @DeRonTalley
DEQ Secretary Peggy Hatch and Deputy Secretary Dr. Vladimir Alexander Appeaning joined City of Gonzales Council members and staff from GSA Consulting Engineers to present the check.

The Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) loaned $15,170,000 to the City of Gonzales on Feb. 12 to be used for a three-phase sewer program throughout the city - allowing the city to upgrade older gravity mains, expand the existing treatment facility and extend service to the city south of Interstate 10.

Before the check presentation, DEQ Deputy Secretary Dr. Vladimir Alexander Appeaning told the Weekly Citizen, “To have good infrastructure if you truly believe in quality economic development.”

“So he’s brought the best of both worlds,” Dr. Appeaning said about Gonzales Mayor Barney Arceneaux. “He’s not only helping economic development, but he’s also advancing environmental protection.”

Mayor Arceneaux said the loan is very special to the city and “we surely appreciate what the DEQ has done for us.”

“I can’t be more excited about,” Mayor Arceneaux said in the press conference. “We’re talking about expanding our sewer rehabilitation and that helps with our economic development.”

Dr. Appeaning iterated the project is truly an example of leadership.

“Leadership from the DEQ, with a secretary who fully acknowledges around the state we cannot have quality economic development without having quality infrastructure, and a mayor who acknowledges it,” Dr. Appeaning said in the press conference. “We see a project that not only brings economic development, but also valuable environmental protection. We have those two in harmony and I think the best of both worlds come together.”

GSA Consulting Engineers played a major role in helping the City of Gonzales be in position to receiving a loan from the DEQ.

David Einsel, Project Manager with GSA Consulting Engineers, was excited about the opportunity of getting started on the project, and thanked both the city and DEQ.

“We are grateful to Mayor Arceneaux, the Gonzales City Council, and all members of the City administration for having the continued foresight to be out ahead of the growth within the City of Gonzales in providing the necessary sewer system improvements,” Einsel said, on behalf of GSA Consulting Engineers. “We would also like to extend our thanks and deepest appreciation to our funding partner, DEQ, for having that same foresight in making funds available within the DEQ SRF Program for these worthy projects.”

Einsel said the sewer improvements that will be constructed would ensure that Gonzales is poised for extensive growth well into the significant future. 

“GSA is excited to start construction on these projects, and we look forward to our continued partnership with the City of Gonzales and DEQ,” he said.

City of Gonzales Chief Engineer Jackie Baumann explained the phases of the project and said that the first phase is set to begin shortly.

“The first phase is going to be rehabilitating older gravity mains. That project, I’m excited to announce the council has already awarded to the low bidder as of Monday night and we’ll start construction very soon,” Baumann said.

“Phase 2, we’re going to expand our treatment facility to accommodate the new developments coming into the city,” Baumann said. “Phase 3 will be extending sewer infrastructure in o the southern portion of the city where a lot of the new growth is moving toward. With those three projects combined, we’re excited to say we’ll be able to meet the needs of our community as they are today but also for much of the growth to come.”

Gonzales Councilman Kenny Matassa added: “Truly this is a great day in the City of Gonzales. We always work to stay ahead of the game here in the City of Gonzales and that’s why this loan is going to work so good for us in expanding our sewer services.”