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Building can resume in Poplarville

A water moratorium was issued in Poplarville after Hurricane Katrina, ending all residential and commercial construction. That restriction came just as the population was booming following the storm.

Barbour announced Tuesday that the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality has approved a grant for $2,440,541 to cover costs to be incurred in the planning and engineering of the North Pearl River County Water Supply System. The North Pearl River County system will involve a 700-gallon per minute well and 500-gallon water storage tank in the northern part of Pearl River County. In the five counties participating in the Regional Water and Waste Water Plan, $642 million will be distributed, with $56 million of that anticipated to be used in Pearl River County.

County Administrator Adrain Lumpkin said bids for the project went out Sunday. Bids will be opened at a Utility Authority meeting on Aug. 28, at 10 a.m.

Work should begin in mid-September and is should conclude by mid-March of 2008, said Brooks Wallace with Dungan Engineering.

Poplarville’s moratorium was lifted before construction began on the project since a conservative formula is used to let a city know it needs to do something before it reaches maximum water service capacity. Wallace said Pearl River County’s Utility Authority worked to have the moratorium lifted even though the new water supply is still at least six months away, and the Health Department agreed.

An exact number of available taps that can be added to Poplarville’s current system was not provided by the Health Department, Wallace said. However he said he does not expect Poplarville to add any more than 50 to 60 new taps before the new well and storage tank are completed.

Once the well and tank are built, Poplarville has agreed to purchase water from it, Wallace said. That will provide the city the water it needs to grow.

Since the storm there have been businesses that have expressed interest in building in Poplarville but with the moratorium there were no available water taps, Lumpkin said.

“I feel like it’s going to open up a lot of growth in the Poplarville area,” Lumpkin said.

This will be the first project to begin construction in the five participating counties where Regional Water and Waste Water Utility Authorities have been established, Lumpkin said.

While the new well and water tank will not be exclusively for Poplarville, lines will be tied into the city’s water system and provide it with the additional water it needs. The placement of the well and also tank will provide water taps needed for growth in communities north of Poplarville, towards Hillsdale.

“I’m glad to see something moving forward, rather than just talk,” Lumpkin said.

This water project and lifting of the moratorium are products of work conducted by the Pearl River County Utility Authority in the past year.

Poplarville Mayor Billy Spiers did not want to comment on the matter until he received his letter concerning the lifting of the water moratorium.

A utility authority meeting will take place Aug. 6 at the Picayune city hall at 6 p.m. where discussions will take place concerning signing the grant for the water supply project and three others. The other projects include a Poplarville waste water treatment plant and transmission system, a regional water supply project for Picayune and a waste water treatment facility and transmission system also for Picayune.