Nathan Husman said his company is looking at the two least expensive options, which are both mechanical treatment processes. He said the plan is to create the design around both options "so that we can have a competitive bid process."
Husman said the total project cost is an estimated $152 million, which includes construction, sludge removal and closing three of the city lagoon's four cells.
According to his presentation, which can be found here, the preliminary estimated project cost for Option 1 (Oxidation Ditch) is $136,000,000 with an estimated annual operations cost of $6,970,000.
Option 2 (Verticel) would cost approximately $139,000,000 with an estimated annual operations cost of $5,500,000.
However, the original $141 million treatment facility through a land application process, is not ruled out. Husman said representatives of Groundworx, LLC, are putting together estimates to compare to those that Neel-Schaffer has found for the mechanical treatment processes.
"That way, the city as a whole can see those total costs put together and make their decision based on the full information that's available," explained Husman, who clarified that Neel-Schaffer was not a part of that independent process.
The next deadline, according to the consent decree issued to Hattiesburg by the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality, is May 1, 2016. At that time, construction should begin, although Husman said it could begin as early as this year.
"The key is we've got to keep moving forward and making progress," he said.