Utility Authority work underway

Published 7:00 am Friday, April 11, 2014

The Pearl River County Utility Authority is in the process of renovating sewage treatment infrastructure in Picayune and Poplarville.

Part of that work involves renovations to five lift stations within Picayune. Assistant Executive Director Debbie Bounds said work has been conducted on two lift stations, the one next to Pizza Hut, and another on East Canal Street. Board President Steve Lawler said work to both of those lift stations is complete except for the punch list.

To save money, Lawler said the Utility Authority is performing most of the repairs themselves. Work to two other lift stations will attempt to be conducted in-house. However, an issue with one may cause the board to consider hiring an outside contractor.

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Lawler feels comfortable that the work to the lift station near Tractor Supply Company on Miss. 43 S. can be performed with their staff. However, a lift station on Cooper Road that lies in the middle of the road may require outside help to relocate it into the right of way.

Bounds said the total project cost is expected to be $961,000 to rehabilitate a total of five lift stations in Picayune. When complete, the upgrades will ensure the sewage is moved to treatment facilities more efficiently and prevent overflows and backups.

“We continue to evaluate everything and look for areas where we need improvements,” Lawler said.

Smoke testing is also ongoing as the Utility Authority looks for areas where storm water is infiltrating the sewage system. Lawler said storm water entering the sewage system causes the system to work harder, creating a loss of resources. Currently that work is ongoing in Picayune, but similar work is also planned for the Poplarville area.

“We want to get the Picayune situation under control first,” Lawler said.

Lawler said the Utility Authority is focusing on Picayune first because that system is in the most need of repair due to design flaws installed many years ago. The Utility Authority and city of Picayune are working together to get those fixes completed.

In all the Utility Authority has between 80 to 90 lift stations, 65-70 of which are in Picayune, Lawler said.

During the Utility Authority’s next meeting, planned for 2 p.m. April 17, in the council chambers at Picayune’s City Hall, the board will recognize Hannah Rouse. Rouse is a fifth grade student at Roseland Park Elementary who won first place in the local Science Fair for her project on wastewater treatment.