By David A. Farrell, Item Staff Writer
The Picayune Item
On Monday, Pearl River County Utility Authority Executive Director Jeff McClain briefed supervisors concerning on-going and nearly complete projects, and pointed to the nearly completed project at Hide-A-Way Lake as a project the utility authority is particularly proud of.
McClain said PRCUA has spent $60 million in upgrading sewer and water infrastructure in Pearl River County since the utility organization’s inception after Katrina, with $6 million alone in Hide-A-Way.
He told supervisors, “It’s (Hide-A-Way) a great project for the community, environment and quality of the lake, and will greatly benefit Hide-A-Way and the Picayune area in the long-run.”
He said PRCUA had pumped $6 million into sewer infrastructure projects in Hide-A-Way. He added that in the Hide-A-Way project, the utility authority had installed a centralized low-pressure wastewater collection system.
The system includes, he added, nearly 18 miles of piping, 900 grinder pump systems and a sewer pumping station. He also told supervisors that during the project, so far, 250 septic tanks have been decommissioned.
He said the Hide-A-Way project was being “wrapped up,” and a ribbon cutting and dedication was held on Friday for the system. Over 60 people and local officials attended the ribbon cutting. McClain thanked supervisors Joyce Culpepper and Sandy Kane Smith for attending the dedication ceremonies, and said he understood other supervisors had prior commitments.
He also told supervisors that the Highland Commons Parkway Installation project is in the final stages of completion and will be completed in the “next few weeks.” He added that collection lines and a state-of-the-art pumping station is being installed along Highland Commons to accommodate the new hospital and any future commercial or residential development along the four-lane thoroughfare.
The sewer pump station will allow the utility authority to redirect some flow from the north side of Picayune and reduce some pressure off of other pump stations in the Picayune system, he told supervisors.
“The Highland Commons project will ease some problems we have in other areas,” said McClain. “It’s a great project, and we are looking forward to it coming on-line, as well.”
McClain also pointed to the replacement of old water lines in what was formally known as the Dixie Utility service area, which included Westchester, Huntington and some other residential areas. Installed were larger service lines which will allow for the delivery of more water volume and allow for installation of fire hydrants, thus increasing fire protection for residents.
McClain told supervisors that the HAWL, Highland Commons and old Dixie Utility projects were “the last of the grant money,” that is money that taxpayers don’t have to pay back. McClain said that since PRCUA has been in existence, it has expended $60 million in federal and state money on sewer and water infrastructure in Pearl River County.
He said future projects will have to be self-generated or with loans.
He told supervisors that upcoming 2013 projects are No. 1, the Picayune pump station upgrades, and No. 2, a capital improvement project.
The Picayune project will consist of the rehabilitation of six major sewer pump stations in the city that move raw sewerage from neighborhoods and pump it to the new wastewater treatment plant on Neal Road.
In the capital improvements projects, there will be water line extensions in Lake Hillsdale and sewer station improvement to several pump stations in Poplarville and Picayune that involves replacing motors, pumps, plumbing and control panels.
McClain told supervisors that the new projects will be paid for with self-generated funds or through loans.
“That’s it in a nutshell,” McClain told supervisors. “I invite you all to come to meet me in Poplarville or Picayune or anywhere in Pearl River County, and I will be glad to show you what we are doing, and how it is impacting the county and its two cities.”
PRCUA headquarters is located at 100 Street A, Ste. F, Picayune.