Forrest County residents to pay more for Hattiesburg sewer services

FORREST COUNTY, MS (WDAM) - Several subdivisions outside of Hattiesburg that use city sewer services will soon pay more than those living in the city limits, and residents said they are not sure that is fair.

The Hattiesburg City Council voted Tuesday to approve a sewer treatment agreement with the Providence Homeowners Association that doubles rates for those living in the neighborhood off of Bonhomie Road near Presbyterian Christian School.

"I'm not real happy about it," said John Jennings, who has lived in the Providence Subdivision for about nine years. "I don't think I have to pay double. I think I'll just have to pay what everybody else pays."

Hattiesburg City Council President Carter Carroll said the higher rates cover the extra costs the city pays to provide a service for people who do not live there.

"We're going to charge them double, and we feel that that's fair," Carroll said. "We're taking care of their of their sewage, and it will help to defray some of the cost of our taking care of the sewage for them."

The neighborhood has 54 residential lots, but only 16 homes that are connected to Hattiesburg's sewer system, according to an April letter Hattiesburg engineering firm Shows, Dearman and Waits. If the subdivision is fully built, the firm estimates "anticipated daily flow is roughly 15,300 gallons per day" in addition to the amount the city is already treating for residents.

While homeowners will be paying more monthly, Carroll said it is a lot less than they would spend trying to treat sewage themselves.

"It's a win for them, they don't have to create septic tanks or have a sewer lagoon of their own- that we can process their sewage much cheaper than they can," he said.

However, Jennings said he would have considered creating his own sewer treatment system if he had known about the price increase when he was building his home.

"If they had told us that to start with, I might have dug my own sewer, put in my own water lines," he said.

Jennings said sewer rates have been the same for those inside and those outside the city limits since the subdivision started, but with his home already built, he said paying the higher price is essentially the only option.

"At this point, I'm sort of forced to," he said. "When I was building my house, I could have dug my own well."