Nov 27, 2011 7:01 PM by Herbie Smith
Plans are underway to declare a state of emergency in Vermilion Parish. Officials say the parish's economy may take a hard hit due to high salt content in the Mermentau Basin. Officials say this has been an ongoing problem that's getting worse. Back in October the "Leland Bowman Lock" sustained major damage after being hit by a barge. The flow control structure prevented saltwater intrusion. Even before the barge incident happened, officials say they needed to repair a breach in Freshwater Bayou that's causing saltwater to flow into the basin. Police Jury President, Wayne Touchet says Vermilion Parish's economy depends on crops grown by farmers that could get destroyed if salty water continues to pour into the freshwater used for agriculture. On Monday, Touchet will file the declaration with the hope of getting federal assistance. Touchet says it may be another five months before the lock that was damaged is fixed.