$953,728 fix for Shadows at Manchac dry retention pond up for approval on Monday

Monday’s East Ascension Consolidated Gravity Drainage District No. 1’s (EA Drainage Board) agenda includes a holdover from 2021; Shadows at Manchac Retention Pond Repair.  The Board will consider approval of a two-phased project, with a combined cost of $953,728.

At issue is a problem that first appeared on the February 8, 2021 meeting agenda pursuant to a maintenance request related to the subdivision’s “drainage servitude within the retention pond.”  DPW Director Ron Savoy presented the item pursuant to a request made to the Citizens Call Center for the pond “located off of Hwy 42”.  Those meeting minutes include:

“A discussion was held by the commission and legal counsel for establishing that the Homeowner’s Association is responsible for and has been maintaining the private area of the pond.  It was decided that the parish could assist by cleaning out the drainage servitude to blow out culverts and perform maintenance within the dedicated servitude, providing that the residents sign a ‘Hold Harmless Agreement,’ for access, and work performed without changing the original drainage plan engineered for the development.  Commissioner Lawler made a motion to approve work for drainage improvements in dedicated servitude only.  Commissioner Mason made a second to the motion.  No objection.  Motion passed.”

Much has changed since, three subsequent meetings expanding the parish’s commitment until Hartman Engineering came up with the two-phased solution to be considered on Monday.  Phase 1 envisions…

at a cost of $501,627.  Then Phase 2…

coming in at $452,101.  The total exceeds all four options presented for discussion by the Board on November 8.

  • Option 1:  ($910,885) to convert the dry detention pond to a wet pond.
  • Option 2:  ($910,384) to limit the conversion to an existing parish-owned 30′ servitude, a center channel to be constructed with concrete lining to decrease future maintenance cost.
  • Option 3:  ($441,903) to improve the subsurface drainage in the subdivision, the one recommended by Hartman’s Monceaux preliminarily.
  • There was a fourth option, called for by President Clint Cointment, No. 2 above but without the concrete lining which could drop the price tag to $510,000.

At the time Cointment, having recently withstood the attempt to strip his authority over EA Drainage, conceded, “We can’t be responsible for every pond in the parish.”

If the Board plunks down nearly a million dollars on this one, how will they reject the next subdivision’s request to fix its underperforming detention/retention pond (or any drainage problem for that matter)?  It is a potential “can of worms” that could alienate the next group of residents seeking drainage relief.

Cointment deemed Shadows at Manchac a “unique situation” because it is a dry detention pond.  And the non-functioning drainage mitigation feature is causing “regional problems” not limited to property owners in the subdivision.

We doubt the next subdivision seeking parish dollars to remedy its drainage problem will be willing to accept the distinction.