Slidell to get huge drainage pond

SLIDELL, La. -- St. Tammany Parish officials celebrated the groundbreaking of a huge detention pond in Slidell.

The French Branch Pond will provide another layer of flood relief for neighborhoods east of Interstate 10 near Gause Blvd. Once completed, it will span 54 acres and hold up to 90.7 million gallons of water, according to the parish.

"As I go around the parish speaking to different groups, their recurring concern is that flooding is always an issue," said St. Tammany Parish President Pat Brister at the groundbreaking. "And, as I tell them, that's what we work on every day--drainage and traffic."

The pond will hold enough rainwater reduce flooding 15-18 inches in a 25-year rain event, or a rainstorm that comes around once every 25 years.

Tommy Buckel of Duplantis Design Group, the company which designed the project, says the pond will store enough water to fill an area the width and length of a football field, with the endzones, roughly 400 feet deep.

St. Tammany Parish received $7.9 million from the federal Hazard Mitigation Grant Program for the project. The money will also pay for widening other W-15 Canal, which drains water from the neighborhoods near the French Branch Pond.

Construction will begin at the start of next year and should take around a year to complete.