Red River Silt Cleanup Due to Flooding Likely to Cost $3.5M

July 15, 2015

An official says the Red River Waterway Commission may have to pay up to $3.5 million to clear silt deposited by this year’s floods.

Operations and maintenance director Mike Boydstun tells The Times the commission usually spends about $200,000 a year to dredge selected spots in the river and clean 19 launches and parks.

“We have an operation and maintenance fund where this money is likely to come from if the (RRWC) board approves it,” Boydstun said. “The money is there. It’s tax money that has been put aside over the past 20 years. It’s hard to say what might happen next year, if there is another catastrophe. We have had high-water issues in the past with extensive cleanups, but this is a major, major cleanup.”

While supervising a crew of RRWC maintenance workers at the Arthur Ray Teague boat launch last week, Boydstun stood in front of a mound of sandy dirt more than four feet high exhibiting the level of silt left behind.

An estimated 20,000 cubic yards of silt will be removed from the Teague and Stoner launches for use by government entities in various projects. But Boydstun said silt isn’t viable for uses such as levee repair or home foundations.

Environmental problems from the flooding were minimal, according to Greg Langley, Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality press secretary.

“We didn’t have a lot of concerns in that area although we worked the parishes on debris removal and in making sure the sewerage plants were working properly,” Langley said. “When things like sheetrock are removed from homes, it has to go to a specific waste site (a construction and demolition facility), so we offered some assistance to homeowners in that regard. There were some plants shut down, so we made sure their startups were done properly.”

Langley said parish governments are dealing with issues such as what to do with the sandbags.

Bossier Parish Police Jury administrator Bill Altimus said the jury is picking up sand bags and holding on to them for future use. He said a large pile of bags is piling up in the parking lot.

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