Sorrento discusses possible sewer vandalism

Greg Fischer Editor-in-chief
Sorrento Council meeting August 7, 2018.

The Sorrento Council was ecstatic about the low crime rate read by the Ascension Parish Sheriff's representative for July, but perplexed over what appeared to be a cement dump at the sewer lift station.

In the final minutes of the well-attended meeting, Mayor Mike Lambert decided to bring up the fact that a criminal investigation is in the works because both pumps malfunctioned recently. Upon further review a pit was caked with cement.

"Sewer lift station," Lambert said, "we had a failure on both pumps. Both went down at the same time. The first thought was an electrical surge because we had a thunderstorm come through at the approximate time.

"After they took the pumps out, I was notified that there was a large amount of asphalt in the impellers. We don't know how it got in there. Right now we are estimating the cost at $15,000 dollars."

The Town of Sorrento currently has a tight operating budget, as it is. This was evident earlier in the meeting over a discussion of the condition of the road on Amanda Street. Councilman Randy Anny discussed using his own equipment to help fix Amanda Street. This came after two residents complained that it is unsafe and cannot be driven over without waking up a sleeping child.

The council said they do not have the money to pave Amanda Street. Mayor Lambert also has also stated that he is not interested in paving the road at this time.

That means the town may have to wait two years for a community block development grant to come into play. In the meantime it remains unresolved.

Back to the sewer lift station, Lambert said the issue is an emergency. The first replacement pump arrived on August 7. The second was scheduled to arrive August 9.

"We'll have it up and running," Lambert said. "But we're at a loss on how it got in there."

Moreover, Louisiana Rural Water Association recently found no issues with the water lines.

"They did not find any failures in our system," Lambert said.

Town Engineer Jared Bauer with All South reiterated that although there were not major damages to any lines, there were some breakages reported. However, it was still odd to find "brick sized" chunks of asphalt in the pit.

Mayor Lambert confirmed on August 14 that the pumps had been replaced and everything is back to normal. They will put a security camera on the gate at the Braud Street station and change the locks.