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St. Charles citizens group plans ‘Tire Bash’

By Leonard Gray / L’Observateur / April 8, 1998

HAHNVILLE – Solid waste remains a high priority in St. Charles Parish.While parish officials debate what to do when the Greater New Orleans Landfill closes June 30, a citizens group plans Louisiana’s first “Tire Bash” on April 25.

The St. Charles Parish Council heard a report Monday from EdwardPalahang, chairman of the Council’s Solid Waste Citizens Subcommittee, urging more leadership by example from parish officials and increased education about recycling, composting and mulching.

Recycling, he said, reduces the volume of waste to landfills by up to 39 percent. Composting cuts waste by up to 30 percent. Problems exist,though.

Recycling is “unenforceable,” meaning it can’t be forced on the public, which pays for the program whether they participate or not. Compostinghas a high startup cost.

On the other hand, incineration is “on the back burner” and is not being considered as an alternative to disposing of municipal waste.

The committee’s six-month study reviewed programs of other parishes and municipalities to come up with its finding.

Education is of the highest importance, Palahang said, and he added the parish needs to designate one person to be responsible for contracts, public education and relations with the public. “We need to make recyclinga community effort,” Palahang added.

Meanwhile, Patricia Elfer of Swamp Eyes, headquartered at the St. RoseTavern, plans Louisiana’s first “Tire Bash” for St. Charles Parishresidents only.

The plan is to collect old tires for disposal, rather than let residents dump them on roadsides. It is set April 25 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at theparish yard at 1400 East Harding St., New Sarpy.No businesses will be allowed to dump tires, and residents are told to keep the number to 20 tires at maximum. Proof of residency is required,and tired must be clean and without rims.

In another matter, the Parish Council removed from consideration, pending further study, a proposed contract approval for engineering services for creation of a new recreational park behind Willowridge Estates in Luling.

Tregre insisted the site is high ground, requiring no drainage improvements. He bridled at any further delay and said the land had beendonated to the parish for that purpose more than two years ago.

“I don’t see what’s so difficult about building a park,” Tregre said.

On the other hand, Bayou Gauche resident Gwen Dufrene said the spending of $16,500 was “stupid,” and the vote to place the matter on the back burner passed by a 5-3 vote.

Tregre did narrowly achieve a victory in Parish Council approval of engineering services for the West Bank Hurricane Protection Levee.

The $19,000 contract with Eustis Engineering Co. is required by theLouisiana Department of Environmental Quality prior to approval of a wetlands permit for the levee alignment.

Residents, including Dufrene and Stanford Caillouet of New Sarpy, complained of the expense when it was not known if the permit would be approved.

Tregre agreed with them, and said, “It’s disgusting the federal government requires us to spend this money before they allow us to apply for the 404 (wetlands) permit.”The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers told Tregre the present alignment doesnot meet to its satisfaction but, Tregre said, its alternative would add $4-5 million in land acquisition to the project.

The contract was approved by a 6-2 vote, with Parish Councilmen “Ram” Ramchandran and Ellis Alexander in opposition.

Also, a new state road will open in a matter of days, pending final review by the state highway department, according to Gary Karr of TransAmerican Refining Co., Norco.The road is a rerouting of Prospect Avenue, coming off Airline Highway and banking left around the refinery’s tanks to River Road. Most of thepresent Prospect Avenue will be absorbed by the plant.

And the Parish Council approved installation of a chlorine pipeline between Occidental Chemical in Taft and Monsanto Chemical in Luling by a unanimous vote.

The 5-inch carbon-steel pipeline, encased in concrete, will be buried six feet deep, according to an Occidental spokesman. A similar pipeline toShell Chemical, Norco, has operated 22 years without incident.

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