Poplarville area water project is underway

Published 5:25 pm Tuesday, November 6, 2007

The Poplarville area water project is underway and the Pearl River County Utility Authority is in the process of working out other projects.

While working on specifics of those projects, a complaint concerning Utility Authority fees was discussed in the meeting Monday evening.

Utility Authority engineer Brooks Wallace said the well for the Poplarville Area Water Project is not quite as deep as previously expected. The proposed depth for the well was 650 feet. Instead, the depth of the well will be 600 feet. Wallace said the change in depth is due to the fluctuations in the sand bed depth of aquifers.

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The proposed project for Hide-A-Way Lake will not take place since residents voted it down.

“About 30 percent of the people in there stopped that project,” Wallace said.

In lieu of that project, which was slated to install a central sewer system to replace the problematic septic tanks currently in HAWL, Wallace proposed the utility authority take that $1.5 million and use it to install start up treatment plants in four separate places in the county. Those start up treatment plants could make it easier for new waste water connections to tie into the central system.

A proposed project with the City of Picayune has stalled due to a lack of communication between the city and the Utility Authority.

“If they want to start talking with us, they really need to because we got other projects we need to start looking into,” Utility Authority president Steve Lawler said.

If Picayune declines to participate in the project, then that money could be used to set up a centralized system in the Carriere area.

“They either want to partner with us and get this thing going or they don’t,” Lawler said.

Another developer has found fault with the fees that the Utility Authority has established. Darren Dennis is trying to get approval to hook water and sewer to a duplex, however he does not believe he needs to pay the commercial rate, which could be up to $2,000. Instead he believes the residential rate of $300 is more reasonable, especially since the duplex will be used for residential purposes.

Lawler said that in the future there will be some discussions with developers, planning departments and insurance companies to form a classification system for developments. No changes were made in Monday’s meeting.

Duane Smith, who installs septic systems, said he believes the problems with the fees need to be ironed out. He thinks paying a commercial rate for a residential structure, even if two families will be residing there, is too steep.

“Really (Dennis) should only be charged $600,” said Duane Smith.

In the long run Smith believes the Utility Authority will benefit the county but that some aspects are still in need of work.

“I think it’s going to be good thing, but right now they are making some folks mad,” Smith said.

The rules and regulations were handed down from the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality and have been modified from that original version, Wallace said.

Since its formation, the Utility Authority has made some adjustments to the fees as well. Lawler said if there is some way that they can make the rules and regulations work better, they are willing to work on those opportunities.

“We’re not going to be so hardheaded as to say we’re not going to listen to you,” Lawler said.

On a separate matter, the Utility Authority went into executive session to discuss a possible contract with Nicholson Water. When the members came out no action taken, Lawler said.

In other business the Utility Authority;

— Approved applying for a $25,000 Natural Capital Development grant to pay for an educational program on water and waste water for the Utility Authority, city officials and board of supervisors.

The Utility Authority recessed until 6 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 13, at Poplarville City Hall where 12 changes that will be made to the way the authority handles certain legal matters will be discussed.