Nasty bacteria found in Boston Canal in Vermilion Parish

The Boston Canal, located south of Henry, is a popular fishing and boating canal.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) discovered there is a nasty bacteria in the Boston Canal and wants to get rid of it.
The Boston Canal, south of Henry, runs directly into the Vermilion Bay. It is a popular canal used by fishermen and residents who have camps along the canal next to the Vermilion Bay.
The bacteria found in the Boston Canal is called fecal bacteria.
Fecal bacteria enters waterways through direct discharge of animals, humans or birds.
If humans swim in the Boston Canal and drink the water with fecal bacteria, it could cause intestinal disease and hepatitis A.
EPA is pinpointing the cause of the fecal bacteria to be humans and livestock.
Homes and camps with old, septic tanks that are full and overflowing on the ground and then into the canal are being targeted as the cause.
Farmers with animals along or near the Boston Canal are getting educated to help prevent animal waste from entering the canal.
EPA noted the Boston Canal is one of 43 water bodies that Louisiana prioritized for partial and/or full restoration by October of 2016.
Due to this prioritization of the Boston Canal, La. Dept. of Agriculture and Forestry, Office of Soil and Water (OSW) and Vermilion Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) have teamed up with EPA, LDEQ, and NRCS to implement the Boston Canal 319 Project.

The goal of the Boston Canal 319 Project is to improve water quality, reduce pollutants into the Boston Canal watershed in the Vermilion River Basin, and to delist the water body.
By reducing the pollutants from agricultural activities and residential septic systems that are flowing into the canal, it is their hope that the water quality will be much improved and will once again be suitable for reproduction of fish and wildlife.
There are three phases of this project currently taking place.

The first is the agricultural phase.
Kyle Soileau, OSW, is currently taking applications from sugar cane and cattle producers who choose to participate in this project.
Producers implementing the following Best Management Practices: Managed Field Borders, Cover Crops, Grade Stabilization Structures, Residue Management-Seasonal and Ridge Till, Nutrient Management, Crop Rotation, Pest Management, RTK Base Stations and Rovers to assist with Precision Ag., Portable Livestock Shade Structures, and Exclusion Fencing, will assist in significantly reducing the pollutants entering the waterway.

The second phase is the homeowner septic system pump out phase.

EPA has determined that rural communities with aged septic systems are known to be a significant contributor to pollution.
A failing septic system can discharge more than 75,000 gallons of untreated wastewater into ground and surface water annually.
To address this issue, Mitzi Dohrman, SWCD, is currently accepting applications from homeowners in the project area who want to have their septic tanks pumped out at no cost to the homeowner.
The homeowner will choose the contractor they wish to complete the pump out, SWCD will then schedule the contractor to complete the pump out. Once the pump out is complete, SWCD will then pay the contractor for his services.

The final phase is the monitoring of the Boston Canal water quality.

LDEQ’s Boston Canal sampling location is at the base of the watershed, and the sampling will continue through a 4-year span. The data collected will identify if the agricultural practices and home septic system pump outs are working to clean the Boston Canal water quality.

If you know of an agricultural producer or landowner in the Boston Canal Project area, please have them contact our office at 337-893-5664 ext 3 or come by our office at 3221 Veterans Memorial Drive, Suite H, Abbeville, LA 70510.


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