Jan 10, 2022

Jefferson Parish, Louisiana, Landfill Work Continues After Storm Delays

The $1.2 million canal diversion project was almost complete by February.

storm water management

Jefferson Parish, Louisiana, is still in the process of repairing and upgrading its Waggaman landfill after severe flooding from summer rains.

This process will divert the trash collected throughout the parish to the nearby River Birch facility until April, reported NOLA news. 

The severe flooding occurred in late July 2020 and sent water from the Waggaman Canal into the two sections of landfill up next to receive waste, also known as cells 24 and 25. 

According to NOLA news, the parish diverted garbage to the private landfill next door owned by River Birch. In the meantime, crews drained the cells and disposed of the contaminated water amounting to approximately $1.5 million.

Cell 24 was ready and the parish landfill began collecting trash again after a few months. A long term plan to divert 1.3 miles of the Waggaman Canal which ran between the two cells was put into motion right away. 

The $1.2 million canal diversion project was almost complete by February. River Birch, however, had taken over the contract to operate the parish landfill. River Birch and parish officials said that cell 25 could not be properly prepped to take trash until the canal work was finished. Instead, trash was diverted to the private facility, a plan that was expected to last about five months, according to Mark Drewes, director of the parish's Department of Public Works.

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Another intense storm in March caused flooding throughout the metro area. As a result, the landfill, the section of the canal between the two cells, was still connected to the rest of the Waggaman Canal. Once again, a water break occurred through the newly heightened protective berms. 

The landfill flooded, specifically cell 25, which River Birch had been preparing to accept garbage. These conditions resulted in needing even more drainage work, wastewater disposal and regulatory approvals, according to Drewes, reported NOLA news.

After Hurricane Ida made landfall as a Category 4 storm and knocked out power throughout the region, one of the last areas to get power restored was the eastern portion of the west bank, which is near the landfill. 

Once power was restored, the parish discovered electrical damage to pump stations at the landfill, reported NOLA news.

Work resumed in November and cell 25 should be ready and the parish landfill can resume collecting trash on April 1.

The stretch of former canal will now be part of the landfill's drainage system and now has pipes, flap gates and an even higher berm.

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