Utility Authority applies for funding for work at HAWL

Published 1:36 am Sunday, April 5, 2009

Hide-A-Way Lake may get some waste water work, if the funding is approved.

Previous plans to install central waste water treatment infrastructure in HAWL involved residents of the gated community footing the bill, which caused some resistance.

The new attempt by the Pearl River Utility Authority to install similar infrastructure would be grant-funded by Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality using stimulus funds, if the grant funds are approved, said Utility Authority Board president Steve Lawler. Utility Authority Engineer Brooks Wallace said the $5 million worth of work would involve about $3.4 million in line work and the rest would pay to install about 74 grinder pumps.

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Before the board knows if it will receive the money, some engineering work will need to be conducted. Wallace said if the board is approved for the grant, then the work has to be ready to move at a moment’s notice since there are tight timelines attached to approval of the funds. If the money is approved, then the Utility Authority board would have 30 days to advertise the project.

The original plan called for about $10 million worth of work, which included a grinder pump for each home in the subdivision, Lawler said. That project involved no grant funds, leaving the bill for the work in the hands of the homeowners. The Utility Authority hit resistance to the effort when discussions about that plan were held with residents a couple years ago. The new plan does not involve residents footing the bill, and Lawler said the HAWL board has shown its support.

However, the funds are not approved yet.

“All this could be for naught,” Lawler said.

Provided the work takes place, the waste water would be transferred to the now under-construction Westchester pump station.

The board approved a motion to form a memorandum of understanding between the Utility Authority board and HAWL’s board and also approved a separate motion involving a contract for the required engineering services.

In other business, with storm season approaching, generators for the Utility Authority’s pump stations need to be at the ready and secure. Wallace suggested the board consider purchasing devices that would make the portable generators immobile, tire locks commonly referred to as boots. Wallace said the $100 price tag for the tire locks would be a wise investment to protect the $60,000 to $70,000 generators.

The board also is waiting on six more stationary generators. Wallace suggested when those come in, that the board should ask for a full tank of diesel to be included, since those generators have 400 gallon tanks. Lawler also suggested the board consider contracting with a company for maintenance of the generators to ensure they are in running condition at all times. Wallace suggested waiting until the rest of the generators arrive.

In a separate discussion, the board announced that bids for the Picayune waste water treatment plant will be opened on May 20. Members expect to make a decision on those bids at the May 21, meeting.

Some dormant grant funds could find a use if a meeting between the board and the Vicksburg Corps of Engineers goes well. Funds totaling $600,000 were previously planned to be used for a rural water consolidation stud and may be transferred to the Authority. Lawler wants to use those funds for construction projects since no consolidation is planned. If the funds are granted to the Utility Authority, the board would have to come up with a $200,000 match.

The next scheduled meeting of the board will be 2 p.m. May 21, in Picayune’s city hall.