DONALDSONVILLE, La. (BRPROUD) – Bayou Lafourche and the marshes in Lafourche and Terrebonne Parishes will get much-needed fresh water from the Mississippi River as officials break ground for a new pump in Donaldsonville.

This pump station project has been in the works for decades and once it’s completed it will help tackle the critical issue of land loss in south Louisiana.

Bayou Lafourche stretches from Donaldsonville all the way to Port Fourchon. The new pump station looks to reduce saltwater intrusion and carry freshwater and sediment into the Lafourche and Terrebonne marshes which are eroding faster than any other place in the state.

“All of these projects are allowing us to get to this point where we are going to build to now triple the cubic feet of water that is going into Bayou Lafourche going up to 1500 CFS trying to mimic or restore some function that mother nature carried out on her own back prior to 1905,” Rep. Garret Graves said.

After Hurricane Andrew, the drinking water from the bayou was tainted, leaving 300,000 people without clean water.

“It will protect drinking water for almost 10% of the residents of our state that rely upon the Bayou Lafourche for their drinking water. It will deliver much-needed sediment to nourish our fading coastline. Corp of Engineers anticipates that the increased water levels will benefit nearly 85,000 acres of eroding land,” Gov. John Bel Edwards said.

This project will give added protection to the water source.

“What can be more important than clean water? Nothing. We’ve seen what happens in parishes in this state and in cities across the country where drinking water is not clean,” Rep. Troy Carter said. “We’ve seen the catastrophes that have happened in other parts of the world.”

The $96-million project has faced a number of setbacks over the last 30 years, including coming out $ 30 million dollars over budget when inflation rates hit. Now with federal and state funding, the project is set to begin. Construction for this project is expected to start later this year and wrap up in June 2025.