Trash & Debris Removal Operations  

The Bayou Vermilion District along with the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality with help from a LDEQ Grant are collaborating to improve water quality on the Bayou Vermilion.

LDEQ Grant Title: A Comprehensive Strategy for Implementing Best Management Practices to Improve the Quantity and Quality of Stormwater Entering the Vermilion River

The Vermilion River and its tributaries make up the storm water conveyance system for most of Lafayette, St. Landry, and upper St. Martin Parish. Since the Vermilion River is the major conveyor of water for the area, it recieves the major portions of the nonpoint source pollution from the area. The nonpoint source pollution recieved by the Vermilion River results in turbidity, high fecal coliform counts, and high biological oxygen demand, which in turn results in low dissolved oxygen.

The Lafayette Parish Bayou Vermilion District aims to inform residents and business property owners along the river about the problems that runoff from erosion of their stream banks and yards creates, while at the same time demonstrating ways they can effectively reduce the volume quantity and improve the quality of the water making its way into the Bayou Vermilion.

The specific goal of this project is to develop demonstration sites for erosion control and runoff from residences along the Vermilion River, as a way to filter the water that runs directly into the river.

The techniques to be implemented have four primary goals:

1. To reduce runoff volume through infiltration, retention, and evaporation;
2. To improve runoff quality through the creation of infiltration sites on prevoiously impervious surfaces;
3. To find beneficial uses for water rather than exporting it as a waste product down storm sewers.
4. To raise public awareness about BMPs known to reduce water quantity, improve water quality, and about the beneficial uses and types of different native wetland plants.

There are 5 elements to this project:

1. Wetland plant propagation nursery – this nursery will be used to grow native grasses, sedges, shrubs, vines, and trees. These will be given out at no cost to individuals and groups for restoration purposes.

2. Demonstration rain garden – Rain gardens are a beautiful way to hold rain water long enough for it to soak into the ground, rather than draining into streets and storm drains. A rain garden should be constructed in a low area that already receives and holds rain water. The ground should be prepped by digging at least three feet down and layering aggregate. This aggregate increases the water-holding capacity of the area, thus increasing the chance for it all to soak into the ground.

3. Demonstration pervious pavement – Parking lots and other paved areas prevent rain water from soaking into the soil – instead, the water rolls off of the hard, impervious surface, picking up pollutants such as oil, trash, debris, automotive wastes such as antifreeze and coolants on its way into a waterway. By installing pervious pavement, rainwater is able to “soak in,” through the pavement, and into the ground below. The pourous areas actually trap pollutants such as oil and sludge and prevents it from washing away into bayous.

For more information about pervious pavement contractors in Louisiana, contact the Concrete and Aggregates Association of Louisiana at info@caal.org or call (225) 293-5735. Or visit their website at www.caal.org

4. Rain barrels – through this grant, the BVD has hosted several rain barrel workshops. At these workshops, participants learned how to construct and maintain their own rain barrel. All materials were provided, free, by the BVD, and participants left with their own rain barrel that afternoon. Email jackiet@bayouvermilion.org or call (337) 769-7283 for a tipsheet or more details on how to do it yourself.

5. Demonstration retention pond – A retention pond is a pond or small lake that is designed to receive runoff water from surrounding areas and hold it indefinitely until the water either soaks into the ground or evaporates into the atmosphere. This detention of water and the pollutants it carries with it, helps prevent chemicals, trash and debris from entering the bayou, and will aid in the reduction of flooding problems downstream. Our demonstration detention pond is located between Bayou Vermilion District’s Vermilionville and Jean Lafitte National Park. Upon completion, the pond will be free of water hyacinths, planted along the edges, and have informational signs posted.