Hattiesburg council approves new waste water treatment

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - A 4-1 vote Thursday approved the contract between the City of Hattiesburg and Groundworx, the city's new waste water treatment system.

Councilman Deborah Delgado was the only nay, saying the cost was too much for her to support.

Council president Kim Bradley said the cost for the city will be approximately 17.5 million dollars each year. He said this is a very positive step for the city, not only because it will hopefully be an answer to the current waste problems, but it will also be beneficial for land.

"We're not going to do the conventional, cookie-cutter way like everyone else in the country does- treat it up and dump it in the river," said Bradley. "We're going to create a really unique irrigation system. We're going to grow trees, and we're going to grow grass and do the green thing. I think to go from this stinky lagoon to something that is green and something that is so environmentally friendly, it's a historical day."

The new system is a land application disposal system, which aligns with the rules and regulations of the Mississippi Commission of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) and the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The facility will stretch across 10,000 acres in Forrest County, and construction will begin in the next six to eight months. For residents who live along that track, project coordinators said there should not be any worries of smell near their homes due to the facility.

"By the time the wastewater comes out here, it will already be partially treated, so there shouldn't be any odor associated with the spray," said Ronnie Blackwell of Clear Point Consulting Engineers.

Bradley said the cost of this project will cause residents' bills to increase approximately six or seven dollars each month.

"We're not the only municipality facing this, it's all over the country," said Bradley. "It just happens to be that the Leaf River is part of the Pascagoula River basin. The EPA and environmental groups are real particular about that. They don't want the nitrates, they don't want the ammonia. They don't want those things making its way down to the coast because it changes the environment."

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