Bayou Lafourche pump improvement project in Donaldsonville reaches bid milestone

Michael Tortorich
Donaldsonville Chief
After years of planning, designing, securing funds, and permitting, the new pump station at the head of Bayou Lafourche in Donaldsonville is out for construction bids.

The Bayou Lafourche Mississippi River Re-Introduction and Pumping Capacity Improvement Project in Donaldsonville has gone out to bid for construction, the Bayou Lafourche Freshwater District announced.

The construction bid milestone comes after years of planning, designing, securing funds, and permitting.

From its starting point on the west side of Ascension Parish, Bayou Lafourche flows 106 miles south to the Gulf of Mexico. It provides drinking water for some 300,000 people across four parishes, and freshwater to eroding marshes in lower Terrebonne and Lafourche parishes.

Rep. Garret Graves called the project a win for infrastructure for south Louisiana.

“None of us were around in 1903 when they cut off the connection of the Mississippi River to Bayou Lafourche, but we’re all paying for it now," Graves stated in a news release. "The bayou was the largest distributary of the river and the primary source of freshwater and sediment for the region. We’ve seen land loss and saltwater intrusion ever since."

The pump station in Donaldsonville recently received the final permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

As Graves pointed out, by increasing the capacity of the Mississippi River entering the bayou, the high flows will counter saltwater intrusion on the coast and improve water quality for Lafourche, Terrebonne, Assumption, and Ascension parishes.

The bayou also provides water for agriculture and other industry in the area. 

The Bayou Lafourche Freshwater District was established by the Louisiana Legislature in 1950 to provide fresh water to water purification facilities along Bayou Lafourche. It is governed by a 12-member Board of Commissioners representing each of the four parishes in the district, which conducts monthly meetings at the BLFWD offices in Thibodaux.