The Louisiana Department of Natural Resources is launching a program to inspect as many as 4,000 water wells for possible damage from the 2005 hurricanes.
The need for this emerged shortly after the storms. But finding the money for the work took time, said Anthony Duplechin Jr., a geologist administrator within the department. The project is estimated at $600,000.
The agency, with help from a revolving loan program through the state Department of Health and Hospitals, has contracted with Baton Rouge-based GEC, Inc. to investigate between 3,600 and 4,000 water wells for surface damage.
Those wells were identified by culling from a list of registered water wells with potential problems those that were likely already repaired, he said.
Inspectors recently began in Cameron Parish and are expected to make their way across the coast over the next six to eight months, looking for damaged or other problems, he said. The idea is to find wells that still must be capped or sealed, he said, with the goal of reducing the potential for future contamination.
If an inspector finds a damaged well, that site will be fitted with a temporary cap. It will be up to the Louisiana Recovery Authority to decide what to do with the sites longterm, he said, noting the cost of permanently capping and closing the wells could run into the tens of thousands of dollars each.
“I’m hoping the damage isn’t as severe as we initially anticipated,” Duplechin said.
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