HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - The Hattiesburg City Council announced several new contracts Monday to improve functions of its wastewater lagoons.
"We've made some extensive changes," said Carter Carroll, Hattiesburg City Council president.
The first change, hiring Carey Hardin of Clearwater Consultants.
"I don't know of better lagoon engineer in the state and probably in the region," Carroll said. "He is going to come down here, look at the entire lagoon system and give us any advice as to what he would do to repair."
The city is extending its contract with L&A Contractors.
"They have been just primarily doing the aeration, and from what Mr. Hardin has said, they have done an excellent job," Carroll said. "They are now going to take over the entire management of the lagoon."
The contracting company will manage the lagoon's aeration, blowers and diffusion system under the advice of wastewater expert Steve Mitchell. Carroll said the diffusion system is made of about 1,500 aerators, and said right now, about a fourth of them are working.
"(He) is going to come and instruct L&A construction on how to properly clean those discs (aerators), so that we'll get 100 percent operation out of them," Carroll said. "From what they've told me, if we're meeting the requirements right now with a quarter of them working, imagine what (will happen) with all of them working."
Councilperson Mary Dryden said, "It's wonderful to have a little time to be able to focus on the lagoons because with that lawsuit, it's put so much pressure on us to keep doing something that they require."
Carroll said Hattiesburg also has a contract with Canadian-based Neuros to ensure the lagoon's blowers are working properly.
Carroll said the city's wastewater attorney has already told the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality and Gulf Restoration Network about Hattiesburg's new plans.
"I think we're making some great strides," Carroll said.