Hattiesburg looks to Lamar Co. for wastewater disposal; residents, supervisors oppose

Published: Jan. 6, 2016 at 12:33 AM CST|Updated: Jan. 6, 2016 at 1:32 AM CST
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LAMAR COUNTY, MS (WDAM) - The city of Hattiesburg wants to use 3,000 acres of land in Lamar County to build a wastewater spray field, but county residents and supervisors said they do not support the proposal.

Q.C. Howard's property boarders the proposed site and said he first heard about the land application project two weeks ago.

"We didn't know that it was coming here," Howard said. "We didn't know how and where it was going. I've got family, friends, acquaintances that this spray field is going to affect big time. This is no light matter to us. It's really life threatening to us. it's going to hurt each and everyone of us."

Howard said he had some serious concerns about the wastewater impacting the two species of endangered wildlife living on the property and polluting Sandy Run Creek .

"Who would want to swim in a creek coming down from all of this stuff?" he said. "They say 'oh, it ain't bad.' Well, put it in their creeks. Put it in their yards. Put it around their families, their kids."

Carl Bond lives about 150 feet from the spray field's southern border.

"This is not rural land," Bond said. "We're three and a half miles from Hattiesburg, and we're right in the middle of a neighborhood, 3,000 acres right in the middle of our neighborhood."

Neighbors are not the only people opposed to the proposal. The spray field would sit in Lamar County Districts 1 and 2, and the supervisors from both districts said they will not back the plan.

"I can't," said Steve Lampton, District 1 supervisor. " There's just no way I can support that; 95 percent of that spray field is in District 1, and I just cannot see where I'd support that."

Warren Byrd, District 2 supervisor said, "Spray field application, I know Hattiesburg's got a problem, but it's not Lamar County's problem. I see no benefit to Lamar County or anything from this, and I'm opposed to it. I'll stand opposed to it."

Bond agreed, saying, "This is a Forrest County problem. This is a Hattiebsurg problem, not a Lamar County problem. Particularly, not a problem in our neighborhood."

Howard and Bond are part of a concerned citizens' group that is hosting a public meeting, Thursday, Jan. 7 at 6 p.m. at the Okahola Community Center/Voting Precinct 59. They said they want other neighbors and Lamar County residents to help create a comprehensive list of concerns.

"We don't want this," Howard said.

The Lamar County Planning Commission is scheduled to discuss the spray fields at its Jan. 12 meeting.

Hattiesburg City Council President Kim Bradley said Monday the city does have other options if Lamar County rejects the proposal.

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