JEFFERSON PARISH, La. (WGNO) — The first pipes to be used during the saltwater intrusion are going in, starting in Marrero, to transfer water from upriver.

“We got the permits approved by the Corps of Engineers, so look we want to waste no time and we started laying out the lay-flat pipe immediately and it was really a beautiful sight to see,” Jefferson Parish President Cynthia Lee Sheng said.

Once the pipes are in place and connected on the West Bank, the parish will begin building temporary pump stations and working on the 10-mile-long East Bank pipeline.

“Pipe first, crossings and pumps; and then of course within a week, we’ll be doing all of that simultaneously,” said Jefferson Parish Public Works Director Mark Drewes.

The west bank pipeline will run 15 miles upstream for freshwater, but they don’t have to wait until it’s finished to get the water flowing.

“This project does not require us to go all the way to the end before we can draw from the Mississippi River, so probably at the three or five-mile mark, there was a plan to be able to draw freshwater from the Mississippi River, and the goal is to always stay ahead is to stay ahead of the saltwater wedge,” said Sheng.

Sheng added she expects the two pipelines will be able to move a total of 70 million gallons a day when completed.

40 million gallons are expected for east bank residents and 30 million for the West Bank.

“Reverse osmosis machines or barging in the water is just not available. We just can’t do that at the west bank plant and the east bank plant, so kudos to my team for identifying the right system. I go into battle with them, and they say this is what we need to do and this is the start of it,” said Sheng.

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