City of West Monroe Sparta Reuse Project-Under Development in March, 2010
‘Graphic (Packaging) currently pulls 10 million gallons per day from the depleted Sparta Aquifer and another 10 million from the Ouachita River. When the city completes construction of its $20 million facility that will convert wastewater into drinking quality water in 2011, Graphic will use 7 million gallons of the treated water per day, reducing its draw on the Sparta by 70 percent… We’re all about sustainability….That’s why company officials are excited about the city of West Monroe’s Sparta Reuse Project (Graphic Packaging spokesperson)’. (22a) Pre-2004, West Monroe and West Ouachita Sewer District No. 5 invested almost $1 million in studies and testing. (22b) In 2004, construction of a pilot project began, funded in part by $600,000 in state capital outlay funds. (22b) In 2009, the ‘Sparta Reuse Demonstration Project’ received priority 1 status for $7.6 million of capital outlay funds, with a $4 million local match. (22c) In 2009, LDEQ selected the project to receive $4.75 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (federal stimulus funds). (20d) An additional advantage of the project is its reduction of wastewater discharge into the Ouachita River. (22e and 22f)
Bastrop Paper Mill Off the Sparta in 1981
After a paper mill began operation in Bastrop in 1921, a Sparta cone of depression developed and, over years, extended widely. In 1981, the International Paper Co. (IP) paper mill went off the Sparta. As a result, between 1981 and 1990 the water level in a USGS-monitored Bastrop area well (MO-5) averaged a rise of more than 35 feet. (Figure 28) Unfortunately, in 2008, IP operations in Bastrop closed, and 550 jobs were lost. (All Headline News, November 8, 2008)
Smurfit-Stone Container Plant Reduced Sparta Use in a 1994-1999 Recycling Project
From 1994 to 1999, managers of the Smurfit-Stone Container plant, located in Hodge, built a water recycling system, thereby reducing the plant's daily use of Sparta water from 15.32 mgd in 1994 to 8.1 mgd in 2000.
(Ref.2, p. 24) The result has been substantial recovery in water levels in the plant’s twelve closely spaced wells, from 14 to 38 feet between 1995 and 2000 (2) and continuing. (Figure 29) During the five year reporting period, levels in other Bienville Parish wells continued to decline (from 0.4 to 1.44 feet). (2) The extent to which Smurfit-Stone Container’s Sparta savings will affect water levels within a wider radius of the plant will become known in time.
Ouachita River Alternative Water Supply Project-Well Levels Rise Beginning in 2004
About the Union County, Arkansas Ouachita River Alternative Water Supply Project
Converting El Dorado industries to surface water use in the past decade is resulting in a significant water level rise in Union County wells and in some Louisiana wells, most notably in wells near the border with Arkansas. (Figure 30) The aim of the Ouachita River Alternative Water Supply Project was to reduce Sparta withdrawals by an average nine mgd. As soon as the Union County Water Conservation Board was established, the board began constructing a 65 mgd river intake, pumping stations, settling facilities, and piping to deliver non-potable river water to major industries in Union County. In 2004 and 2005, three major industries converted from Sparta to river water. An ongoing monitoring program is in place to document the widening area of recovery over years. In 2008, the Ouachita River Alternative Water Supply Project received the Dept. of Interior Cooperative Conservation Award for its successful 'Save the Sparta' public-private partnership endeavor. (Figure 31)
Ingredients of Union County’s Successful Sparta Conservation Program (23.a.)
Figure 31 shows the many agencies, organizations, and citizen groups who worked closely together to assure the project’s success. The Ouachita River Alternative Water Supply Project was preceded by voluntary conservation measures by all Union County industries. These voluntary measures resulted in savings of about 10 percent of the total consumption in 1999. The substantial conversion of three industries to lightly-treated Ouachita River water in 2004 resulted in another 40 percent reduction in county-wide Sparta pumpage.
Alternative Supply Projects Under Study or Under Consideration
The Union-Lincoln Regional Water Supply Initiative was created as a non-profit organization by officials of Lincoln and Union Parishes, Farmerville, and Ruston. The purpose is to seek surface water supplies as alternatives to some Sparta use. In 2006, federal funding was received to conduct a study of D’Arbonne Lake water quality and water levels. (24) Congressional delegates have helped secure additional funds for the initiative.
A City of Winnfield Potable Water Supply Reservoir on Port De Luce Initiative is underway. Initial studies have been conducted by USDA, NRCS, and consulting firms.
Improvements in Efficiency of Water Supply Systems
Area legislators sponsored a Town Hall Meeting, with the Louisiana Rural Water Association (LRWA), at the Ruston Civic Center on March 22, 2007. Among points made (Ruston Leader July 13, 2007):
‘Town of Dubach Water Not Accounted For Falls From 67 to 3 Percent’. (Ruston Leader July 26, 2007) Dubach received a 2007 Energy Conservation System of the Year award from Louisiana Rural Water Association for this achievement. Unaccounted for water was due mostly to broken water lines and meters. Mayor Margaret Rogers stated, ‘This actually saves the town money because it costs a lot of money to pump this water.’
Town of Homer Sparta Success Story (by Ronnie Anderson January 24, 2007, in records of the Claiborne Parish Watershed District). The Homer Sewage Plant was redesigned. Formerly, the plant used an estimated one million gallons of Sparta water per month to inject chemicals to treat sewage to meet discharge standards and additional water through jets to mix the waste water. By the new design, pumps were installed to recycle wastewater for injecting the treatment chemicals, and the jets were eliminated. The cost, $3000, was quickly paid for in water savings.