Union Pacific, BLFWD take action to reduce flooding in Donaldsonville

G and G Marine divers preparing to drop the equipment in Bayou Lafourche to unclog the culverts on Monday.

The Bayou Lafourche Fresh Water District and the Union Pacific Railroad Company have taken action to help the flow of Bayou Lafourche, which begins in Donaldsonville.

Since Monday, Union Pacific has had contractors G and G Marine divers, out of Houston, Texas, and Dean Equipment and Contracting, Inc. dredging, out of Harvey, working to clean out three culverts under the Union Pacific railroad tracks. The project is expected to last until about Friday, according to Ben Malbrough, Executive Director of the BLFWD.

“We won’t necessarily fix the problem but we are excited that it’s finally happening,” Malbrough said Monday as the divers came out of the water.

Malbrough said the BLFWD has been working for at least the last nine months to get the project going.

The purpose of the project is to get more flow down the bayou than they’re getting.

According to Ascension Parish West Side Coordinator, George Rodeillat said right now the most water they can get is about 250 standing cubic feet and they’re hoping by cleaning the culverts out “we’ll be able to get more flow.”

“The other reason is when we get heavy rain storms and the city of Donaldsonville becomes inundated with water flowing,” Rodeillat said. “There is as much as a foot difference between that side of the track and this side. When the other side reaches about a ten foot level, the water will actually back up into the city flood systems and help flood some areas.”

Rodeillat said Union Pacific took ownership of the culverts, which is probably good being that “we don’t know the actual problem.”

He said one of the culverts is about seventy to eighty percent plugged because when they are flowing water you can see the eddies or swirls on the other side and that particular one has a big eddy and the other two are tiny.

“They are going to open all of that up and we’ll see what happens,” Rodeillat said.

Donaldsonville’s Mayor Leroy Sullivan said hopefully they’ll be able to increase the flow which will help down the bayou and at the same time hopefully that’ll be able to help the water drain out.

“Out of the three culverts you have probably one and a third basically working so it’ll be able to increase the flow and also lower the level to balance all of that,” Sullivan said.