MONROE, La. (KNOE) - The Ouachita Parish Police Jury is addressing flooding issues.
President Shane Smiley of the police jury says now they can move faster during emergencies. The parish received 10 new portable water pumps, and the last set arrived in January 2023. The pumps will be utilized to stop flooding in neighborhoods and save residents and their homes during flash flood warnings. Smiley says the pumps will be able to get rid of the water before it gets too high.
“With these pumps, we’ll have the ability to put those pumps in place and go ahead and start pumping prior to even more rainfall. So, rather than us responding to an area that’s flooding, we’ll be able to prevent that area from flooding,” says Smiley.
Homeland Security Director Neal Brown says in years past, they’ve either had to rent the pumps or depend on other agencies to send them, and there’s typically a delay.
“The last time that we used corps of engineer pumps, they had to come in from, I believe, Illinois,” Brown stated. “So, it’s a long, overnight - several day trip to get them here and get them set up. We could have a lag time; 4 or 5 days, even a week. We won’t have the lag time anymore because we have our pumps that are on hand here for the parish.”
Brown says the pumps will be available for areas within the city limits and not just parish neighborhoods.
The pumps cost the parish a total of $1,261,977.70, according to a bid tabulation report from the police jury. The police jury is currently preparing an official protocol to determine when and how the pumps will be dispatched during heavy rains.
The Ouachita Parish Police Jury, Louisiana Watershed Initiative Region 3 and Community Development Block Grant funded police jury’s Portable Pumps Parish Wide Project.