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New well coming

More than $1 million is being used to build a new well and water storage tank in a Pearl River Central Water Association coverage area.

The new 600 gallon per minute well and 150,000 gallon elevated storage tank will provide that area with enough water to add about 1,200 more customers, said Engineering Technician Alan Hendrix.

Funds to build this project are coming from not only the water association but also a loan from the Rural Utilities Program under the USDA Rural Development Program, said Robert Windham, Area Director for USDA Rural Development. Pearl River Central Water Association board member Warren Magehee said the loan will be repaid using water rates. An escrow fund will be set up to provide funds for maintaining the new system, Magehee said.

Windham said this loan was only available to areas with a population of less than 10,000, making Pearl River Central’s area eligible.

The area that the new tank and well will service has about 1,000 customers, not including the county jail in Millard. It is being constructed on Richard King Road, which joins Savannah Millard Road and Highway 53. In case the jail experiences a lack of water from their current water well and tank this new system could work as a back up, Hendrix said.

Pearl River Central Water Association has about 6,000 total customers in four major coverage areas, including Henleyfield, Carriere-McNeill, Derby and Bi-County, where the new tank and well are being constructed. Once this project is complete the water association will have a total of 12 active wells and 8 storage tanks, said Pearl River Central Water Association manager Larry Copeland.

The whole system should be complete in about four months. While the well is almost complete the storage tank currently only has a foundation installed. Total projected price for both the well and tank is about $1,024,300. The cost to build the well was about $433,300 and the projected cost for the storage tank will be about $591,000, said Windham.

Windham said this project has come just in time for Earth Day as the water association works to provide potable water to their service area.

Windham took a moment Thursday to present water association board members, Magehee, Mike Harris, Karl Scott, Myra Necaise and O.C. Smith with a plaque that recognized their efforts to provide that potable water to the rural residents. Also at the event was Rural Development Construction Analyst Clarence Putnam, and Copeland.