Hattiesburg one step closer to wastewater treatment timeline

HATTIESBURG, Miss. - City council members recently voted to ditch the land application system and move forward with the mechanical wastewater treatment project. Now the city is in the process of starting the new project. Neel-Shaffer's engineer Nathan Husman presented an anticipated timeline to council Monday afternoon.

He said, "The timeline we are bringing forward, we are going to negotiate with MDEQ to allow the city to have its first project in the next 30 to 60 days."

The first part of the project will consist of building an $8 million access road to the current lagoons, then an actual site preparation said Husman.

"That is going to be advertised in February or March, that will immediately get started, work through the summer time, and complete of October of next year, at which time we will advertise the mechanical site for construction" added Husman .

Husman said the mechanical treatment project is extremely large and is projected to finish mid 2020.

City officials and the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality will meet Thursday to decipher an actual timeline that will work for all parties in meeting an official deadline.

"In order to move forward with this construction project, we'd like to request and negotiate more time for the city, so we can reduce those fines and penalties, reduce the impact on the ratepayers, and come up with a successful timeline moving forward" he said.

Husman said this is the best outcome for the city. "Based upon what we were told by MDEQ we were going to have to comply with this by 2020 and this is the only solution that we feel comfortable with" he added.

The city of Hattiesburg accrues $1,500 each day for not meeting an initial deadline. The fines will stop adding until a new timeline is agreed upon and finalized.

Mayor Johnny DuPree said he is elated the city is making some progress.

"It took us a long time to get to where we are, but I am elated that we finally set a course, and trying to go down that course to set some timelines so that we can accomplish this" said Mayor DuPree.

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