City of Gonzales receives $2.4 million for relocation of Roddy Road water lines

Staff Report

The City of Gonzales has been awarded $2.4 million by the Louisiana Department of Health’s Drinking Water Revolving Loan Fund Program to relocate water lines along Roddy Road in anticipation of plans to widen the road and install roundabouts.

“The relocation of the water lines is being done along Roddy Road between Black Bayou Road and Airline Highway,” Gonzales City Engineer Jackie Baumann, P.E., said.

Gonzales Mayor Barney Arceneaux is shown in a file photo from the groundbreaking ceremony for the PACE center.

“In addition to installing new lines within a newly acquired right-of-way, we are checking with water customers along that route to ensure their meters have been converted to the new smart meters for more reliable readings,” Baumann said.

Construction began on the project in late April, and project managers anticipate completing the relocation of the lines by the end of September.

​“We are very appreciative of the help we have received from officials within LDH and the Drinking Water Revolving Loan Fund program to secure the funding needed for this project,” Gonzales Mayor Barney Arceneaux said. “This project will ensure that the road widening is not delayed, and that quality water service remains uninterrupted during construction.”

DWRLF Program Manager Joel McKenzie said the City of Gonzales closed on the $2.4 million loan on May 24.

“Once a loan is approved, water systems can use the funds to make their improvements,” McKenzie said. “As water systems pay back the loans, the principal and interest are used to make more money available for other communities that have drinking water needs.” McKenzie noted that the loan is low interest and has a maximum 20-year repayment period.

“All loan projects are approved based upon a priority ranking system.  Among other factors, projects that address the most serious risks to human health and those that ensure compliance with the Safe Drinking Water Act are given the highest priority,” he said.

Congress established State Drinking Water Revolving Loan Fund Programs in 1996 as part of amendments to the Safe Drinking Water Act. The program is jointly funded by an annual grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (80 percent) and the individual participating states (20 percent).  In Louisiana, the program is administered by LDH's Office of Public Health. 

Both public and privately-owned community and nonprofit, non-community water systems are eligible to apply for loans.

"Safe drinking water is fundamental to community health, and this program helps communities throughout Louisiana keep their water as safe as possible without placing an undue burden in the form of expensive financing,” said LDH Chief Engineer Amanda Ames.