The East Baton Rouge Parish Wastewater System – managed by the Department of Environmental Services (DES) – is one of Baton Rouge’s most critical pieces of infrastructure, serving hundreds of thousands of residents each day and powering common tasks from brushing your teeth to flushing the toilet. 

Sanitary Sewer Overflow

Over the past several years, Baton Rouge residents have seen a tremendous amount of upgrades to this system and the infrastructure that comprises it through one of the largest capital improvements programs in the history of East Baton Rouge Parish – the Sanitary Sewer Overflow (SSO) Program. With a total investment of more than $1.5 billion and value delivered to residents, the work performed through this program has taken place under the watchful eye of the federal government and as part of a consent decree entered into between the City-Parish, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the State of Louisiana.

The overarching purpose of this effort is to take remedial actions to correct wastewater collection and conveyance system overflows, as well as discharge permit violations. More than 100 individual projects comprise the program, with project types including capacity improvements (increases the capacity of pump stations and pipes, thereby eliminating overflows and allowing for growth); rehabilitation (rehabilitates the system and eliminates overflows); and treatment (includes upgrades to the North and South Wastewater Treatment Plants, as well as the elimination of the Central Wastewater Treatment Plant).

Approximately 180 miles of sewer pipe have been or will be upgraded through the SSO program; 160 pump stations have or will be upgraded, all of which are or will be equipped with SCADA capabilities for DES staff to remotely monitor and control flow; and 1,200 miles of pipe and 29,000 manholes have been or will be inspected or rehabilitated through this program, scheduled to reach completion at the end of 2018.

South Wastewater Plant Upgrades

One of the most significant and costly improvements to this wastewater system has been upgrades to the South Wastewater Treatment Plant, located off of Gardere Lane. In total, the facility represents more than $250 million of investments in state-of-the-art upgrades to the parish’s wastewater system that today serve a critical role in treating our water as one of our community’s most valuable and precious resources, with an emphasis on resource recovery. 

Through these infrastructure upgrades, City-Parish wastewater system engineers are able to accommodate up to 200 million gallons of wastewater flowing each day through this facility alone, which is treated on-site and then safely sent to various destinations, including waterways like the Mississippi River. And, with cutting-edge technology, facility managers are able to use on-site centralized monitoring systems to provide remote, computer-based controls for this complex network of pipes and pumps.