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Utility Authority projects nearing completion

Projects under construction by the Pearl River County Utility Authority are nearing completion.

Three of those projects are the new waste water treatment plant in Picayune, another in Poplarville and installation of a sewer collection system in Hide-A-Way Lake.

Utility Authority engineer Brooks Wallace said the Hide-A-Way Lake project, which involves installation of sewer lines and grinder pumps throughout the gated community, is about 80 percent complete. Once the infrastructure is installed, then homes connected to the sewage system will have their waste low from the subdivision to the new Picayune waste water treatment plant off Neal Road, which also is nearing completion. So far, about 800 of the 815 grinder pumps have been installed and the remaining pumps are those requiring the most difficult installation, Wallace said. Also, the budget on the project is looking good, which could mean money leftover that could finance another application process to connect the remaining homes in the subdivision to the system.

Wallace said there are 920 homes in the subdivision and the owners of 817 signed up for connection to the sewer collection system. Twenty-six more are on a waiting list. If all goes well, then the homes on the waiting list and the ones whose owners did not sign up may be able to jump on board, but Wallace told the Utility Authority board that needs to wait until the project is almost complete to ensure no unexpected expenses come up.

The new waste water treatment plant in Picayune also is nearing completion, and getting that facility operational is key to turning on the new system in Hide-A-Way Lake. Wallace said that the contractor is in the final stages of getting the new treatment plant started up. Wallace hopes to have some water flowing through the plant next week and also to put in some sludge from the Poplarville treatment plant to get the natural bacteria growing that is used to break down waste.

Mike Switzer with Southwest Water said using existing sludge will speed up the process of establishing the bacteria and getting the plant operational. Otherwise it, would take an additional 10 to 15 days to culture the bacteria. The Utility Authority has a deadline of May 1, to get the plant operational, and Wallace said next week’s procedures are an effort to meet that deadline, especially by using existing sludge.

Work on the new Poplarville waste water treatment plant also is moving along. Wallace said that project is bout 85 percent complete. Wallace expects that project to be finished by late June.

In other matters, the board discussed allowing the owner of a proposed RV park near Poplarville to install a waste water holding tank instead of a septic tank or complete waste water treatment system. Utility Authority Operations Director Cliff Diamond said the owner is willing to have the holding tank pumped out regularly, but the board had concerns about the idea, and suggested seeking an opinion from the Mississippi Health Department. That matter was tabled until the board can get the opinion.