Lines, pipes and awards

Published 2:57 pm Thursday, November 6, 2008

Eutaw Construction was awarded a bid for $92 million or construction of sewer and water lines for the many projects the Utility Authority has planned.

Pearl River County Utility Authority Engineer Brooks Wallace said the work will involve water lines from the new water tank and well in Poplarville to Hillsdale, to the City of Poplarville and to Lumberton. In the Picayune area, the construction project also will involve new water lines to the area formerly covered by Dixie Utilities.

Sewer lines will be installed from Picayune’s old sewer treatment plant to the new sewer plant and to the Westchester subdivision, Wallace said.

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The estimated cost for all of the work was about $14 million, but Eutaw Construction bid the projects out for less than $9.2 million.

The Utility Authority board accepted that bid during their meeting Wednesday.

Wallace said the project is expected to take about two years to complete.

The Utility Authority also won the third place Gulf Guardian’s Award for their work in establishing the Utility Authority and for the work it has done or has underway, Wallace said.

Some problems with some of the Authority’s systems prompted the Environmental Protection Agency to send the Authority some letters, Michael Switzer said. Those problems were minor and resolved quickly. One of the problems dealt with the Picayune and Poplarville waste water treatment plants. Apparently plants took in too much water to treat during previous months when there was heavy rainfall. Switzer said he explained the situation to the EPA.

Another problem involved pH levels in the Poplarville waste water treatment plant being too low. Switzer said at that time the operator of the plant was on vacation and a Picayune operator was filling in. No one told the Picayune operator that the aerator pumps had to be turned off at night to keep the right amount of oxygen in the water. After informing the operator of the proper procedure, pH levels are back to normal.

Three invoices sent to developers in the county were not paid. Wallace said Capital Investments, G9 and JST Properties all owe money to the board, but have yet to pay. Board president Steve Lawler suggested the board send those companies letters asking for payment in 10 days. If payment is not received in that time, then the board will take action.

A new payment drop box will be installed outside of the Utility Authority’s office in Picayune’s industrial park. This will allow customers to pay their bills when the office is closed.

The board went into executive session to discuss personnel and costs for Southwest Water providing services to Round Rock and Wildwood subdivisions.

In other business the board;

— Approved right of way acquisition amounts for property in Hillsdale.

— Approved recurring payments to employees, payroll taxes, reimbursement of authorized travel and insurance premiums and a monthly janitorial bill.

The next meeting of the Utility Authority is scheduled for 2 p.m. Dec. 3, in the City of Picayune council chambers.