Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation (LPBF) released a policy paper “Recommended Policy: Treated Municipal Wastewater Assimilation in Natural Wetlands in Coastal Louisiana” that recommends not allowing new wastewater projects to discharge into natural freshwater marsh.
Louisiana Wildlife Federation (LWF) joins in support of a moratorium on new wastewater assimilation projects discharging into natural wetlands. LWF calls for greater independent monitoring to evaluate past and existing projects and broader analysis be provided to the public for costs and benefits that include impacts on the wetlands involved.
“LWF appreciates the very appropriate questions posed in the LPBF report and the information cited that challenges whether these projects are a ‘win-win’ for wetlands and wastewater treatment costs. LWF members have observed loss of wetlands and their important habitat values in several of these project areas,” said Rebecca Triche, executive director for LWF.
In 2010, LWF expressed concerns about a wetlands assimilation project negatively impacting the Joyce Wildlife Management Area and surrounding wetlands. LWF called for independent evaluation of cumulative effects on receiving wetlands and open discourse about this strategy for wastewater treatment.
“Looking at other projects has only heightened our lack of confidence in these projects benefitting wetland areas as designed. Without vetted evidence to prove benefits over the long term and observing areas experiencing loss of healthy wetland habitat from several of these projects, LWF cannot support this concept for wastewater treatment protocol at this time.
“These projects are not comparable to coastal restoration projects in size or in design so those perceived benefits should not be weighted in overall approval of these kinds of projects,” noted Triche.
Louisiana Wildlife Federation joins Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation in their recommendations for existing wastewater assimilation projects, including a site-by-site evaluation by state agencies or independent contractors to the state. This would help provide a more complete picture of the concept’s performance over time while helping with remediation of damaged wetland areas where needed.
Read LPBF’s policy statement HERE.
Read LWF’s 2010 resolution HERE.
Read LWF and LPBF letter to Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality in 2015 HERE.
Mandeville, LA 70471