HCR 42 Calling for In-depth Report on DEQ Wetland Assimilation Program

HCR 42 passed both houses of the legislature in the 2019 Regular Session. You can view it here.  We will be following up on requests for a report.

Louisiana Wildlife Federation has expressed concerns about the concept of wetland assimilation of wastewater for several years. We concur with a report released by Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation in 2017 calling for a moratorium on new projects permitted by Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality in its Wetland Assimilation Program and asking for a comprehensive evaluation of the program.

We announced our support of this moratorium in October of 2017 and support HCR 42, which requests an in-depth study of the impacts of the program.

No other state (that we can find) has a program that allows natural wetlands to receive treated or partially treated wastewater. States may allow constructed wetlands for wastewater but that is different.

We observe changes in habitat in several permitted project areas and have been asking for independent reviews of approved projects to evaluate whether the projects showed benefit to receiving wetlands in maintaining the same type of habitat or improving it.

The most problematic project is the wetland receiving area from the City of Hammond’s wetland assimilation project that includes wetlands at the Joyce Wildlife Management Area. While we understand an independent evaluation for that project is being conducted by DEQ, it isn’t the only project that shows a visible change in habitat over time.

A recent article in The Lens explains problems with the Hammond Project: https://thelensnola.org/2019/03/14/state-reviewing-controversial-wastewater-treatment-technique/

A guest editorial response about concerns for the concept in general can be read here at The Lens: https://thelensnola.org/2019/04/22/a-big-green-mistake-wetlands-wont-cleanse-partially-treated-sewage/

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