HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - The City of Hattiesburg settled matters with Gulf Restoration Network (GRN) in federal court Monday, which also included an extended timeline for the city's waste water treatment project.
Judge Keith Starrett of the U.S District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi signed a consent judgement between the city, MDEQ and GRN, who was represented by the Tulane Environmental Law Clinic. The suit GRN filed against the city concerned the city's violations of the Clean Water Act, which stemmed from the city's discharges into the Leaf and Bouie Rivers.
"It's great that the city has come to the table for this settlement," said GRN's water program director Andrew Whitehurst in a prepared statement. "This is a win-win for the environment and for the people of the City of Hattiesburg, ensuring that the Leaf River is cleaned up while allowing the city the flexibility and time it needs to improve its sewage treatment facilities."
The city now has until September 2018 to complete which ever treatment and disposal method it chooses to build. The original deadline was in 2017.
The amended consent decree also adjusts penalties the city will face if it misses deadlines with MDEQ during the construction process.
Hattiesburg city council has yet to come to an agreement on which method the city will use after breaking a multimillion dollar contract with Groundworx for a land application system.