Groundbreaking ceremony held for new water facility in Poplarville

Published 5:12 pm Friday, October 12, 2007

The groundbreaking ceremony for Poplarville’s new water well and storage tank system was held Thursday at the site of the facility behind Pearl River County Hospital.

Representatives from the Pearl River County Utility Authority, the City of Poplarville, the Pearl River County Board of Supervisors and the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality were on hand for the ceremony.

MDEQ Executive Director Trudy Fisher said MDEQ will have a continuing role in the project by verifying work that is being done and that has been requested and approved.

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“We all will continue to work together to assist the Authority in maintaining its construction schedule … . The idling of the (construction) equipment is music to my ears,” Fisher said.

Steve Lawler of the Utility Authority said it was great to see construction underway on the facility.

“This is an event we’ve been waiting for … . We’re starting to punch some holes in the ground to get this water project started … . It’s been a long struggle,” Lawler said. “Hallelujah! I’m glad we’re here. Hopefully the citizens of Poplarville and Pearl River County appreciate what’s happening.”

Poplarville Alderman Dr. John Grant agreed that it had been a long road prior to the groundbreaking.

“It has been a long haul. There have been a lot of things to be worked out, but it’s been a story of folks communicating and working back and forth and expressing differences and working those out, and I want to commend the members of the Utility Authority and Mississippi DEQ and Pearl River County and everyone … . We’re here today as evidence … of the continued efforts of a lot of well-meaning, good folks,” Grant said.

Lawler said the construction of the tank should be completed within a year or less.

“We have 360 days to build the tank, from start to finish. It shouldn’t be more than a year. Probably even less,” Lawler said.

Lawler said the primary beneficiary of the tank will be the City of Poplarville, but that once the project is complete, the tank could service a much broader area.

“The City of Poplarville will be the primary customer, but a deal with North Lumberton is about 90 percent worked out. If other water associations want to talk (to the Authority) about partnering, we will be glad to talk with them,” Lawler said.

However, Lawler said it will not be required for existing associations to join with the Authority.

“They do not have to partner with us if they don’t want to. We will not come into an existing certificated area without being asked,” he said.