Ecological threats of 1911
In April 1911, the question of salt water in the Vermilion River came once again to the forefront of regional discussions. According to reports in the Times Picayune, Manager Daniels and his assistant, Franklin Stiener, of the hunter Canal pumping station, fifteen miles below Lafayette, made a trip to investigate the source of the extra salt blamed for endangering rice fields.
“They found a flow of salt water entering the Vermilion from the field, which tested a high percentage of salt, and the stream being extremely low, the influx of salt water seriously affected the purity of the Vermilion below the point of contamination” (Times Picayune, Salt water from oil field wells endangers Vermilion rice fields, April 11, 1911).
The story goes on to say that, as a temporary fix, the Hunter Canal people pumped water from the “great plant near Milton, on the Vermilion” to furnish water to thousands of acres of rice. “If the river becomes impregnated with salt, the plant must shut down, and bring ruin to an extensive section of rice country. The people on the oil field have been warned that if they continue to allow the escape of salt water from the wells into the Vermilion, they will be held responsible under the law, which strictly forbids this practice during the irrigation of rice fields.”