MARION, La. (KTVE/KARD) – The Town of Marion was recently awarded a fiscal year 2022 grant to invest in its sewer treatment.

This infrastructure project is a critical improvement since the town’s sewer system is over 50 years old. Although it has had repairs over the years, Marion mayor Danny Smith said this has caused a financial burden. This time, he says tree roots were growing into the lines causing them to fail. He says the goal is to help reduce sewer backups.

“That causes the station to get sanded or silted in. So, we have replaced pumps and that has been a financial burden. So, we absolutely needed it, it was critical and we got it.”

The $1.1 million grant is funded by the Louisiana Community Development Block Grant. This is part of phase 1, and it will mainly focus on sewer treatment.

“Which means our lagoons, our ponds, and sewer lagoons. What we need there, in order to stay in compliance, is aeration equipment, mixing equipment,” said Smith.

Smith says once they get approved for a second round of funding, the grant will address the lines in the system.

He says to be allowed to use the grant funds they are required to increase the sewer rates up to $6.00 per month to assure the new sewer system can be sustained.

“We have to adjust the rates a little, you know, if not we can’t receive the funds. So, obviously, we want to take advantage of this great infrastructure opportunity for our town so we can move forward,” said Smith.

Phase one of construction has not yet started but is expected to be completed by the end of 2023.