Livingston residents concerned about new Ascension pump

LIVINGSTON PARISH, LA (WAFB) - Ascension Parish recently added a new pump to its parish drainage system. It will help residents who live there but those who live next door in Livingston Parish are worried about how the new pump might impact their homes.

Life has somewhat returned to normal for homeowners on the Petit Amite. They spent the better part of the last year rebuilding what Hurricane Isaac destroyed. Longtime homeowners, Bobby Badeaux and Larry O'Neill, said they had never seen anything like it.

"The water came up during the storm and got an inch from coming in my house," Badeaux said.

"I got about four inches inside the house and water outside was about four feet deep," O'Neill said.

Their yards turned into a lake when high winds and storm surge pushed water into lower Livingston Parish. But residents believe a third element, a pumping station in Ascension parish, was also responsible for their headaches.

"When you have a bowl full and you pump more water on top of it it just makes it worse," O'Neill said.

Ascension Parish had five working pumps during Hurricane Isaac. This year parish leaders added another, which has these folks worried all the work they put into rebuilding their lives could essentially go down the drain.

"It's just going to make it worse," O'Neill said.

"It came within an inch last time it will probably get in my house next time," Badeaux said.

Ascension Parish Drainage Director, Bill Roux, referred to Hurricane Isaac as "The Perfect Storm."

"It brought all the Gulf water from Lake Maurepas and Lake Pontchartrain and then it hit all the high points. Our levees, roads, "Roux said.

He said the additional pump should not impact residents in Livingston Parish. He said the explanation is simple.

"You've got a five gallon jug of water you're going to pour in a bath tub. You punch one hole in it and you pour it in. You pump two holes in it and you pour it in. The same amount of water goes in bath tub but two holes goes in faster but same amount goes in," Roux explained.

But after seeing the water rise in their yards less than a year ago, residents in Livingston Parish said they're having a hard time believing it.

"The more water you put into a situation that's already backed up with debris and other elements that get here. It's not going to help us. It's going to be worse," Badeaux said.

Livingston Parish got roughly $350,000 from the federal government to help with debris removal, but Parish President Layton Ricks said the state has to first agree to match 25 percent of that. He said that hasn't happened.

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