PRC Utility Authority tackles minor matters

Published 7:00 am Saturday, April 23, 2016

Several additional items were discussed during Thursday’s Pearl River County Utility Authority meeting.
A request was made by staff to purchase a new version of a device called a push camera, which allows them to video utility lines to look for blockages and damage.
The version of the device they currently have on-hand provides a low quality image, and can only be extended into a line up to 60 feet. The device they are requesting has a much higher video resolution, and can be extended up to 200 feet, said Operations Director Alan Howe.
Executive Director Ray Scott said the Utility Authority is called out almost on a daily basis to look for blockages, and the camera helps them locate them quickly without having to dig up a large section of the surrounding ground.
An estimated price for the new camera is $13,000. Scott said the board approved purchasing the new camera from general funds.
Discussion of the Highway 11 widening project included the possibility of the Utility Authority having to relocate some of their lines. It’s currently unknown how many lines will need to be relocated, but research is being conducted. Scott estimates having a cost estimate of the work to be ready by the next meeting.
The board also discussed the possible closure of an old sewage treatment lagoon in Poplarville. Scott said the facility has been out of service between 15 to 20 years. Additionally, there’s a dam associated with the lagoon that is in need of repairs. While there is a lot of work to do, including steps through the Department of Environmental Quality, before the board can consider closing the lagoon, Scott said consideration is being made to that effect.
As part of the Utility Authority’s effort to rehabilitate the Picayune wastewater system, the board discussed the possibility of implementing a repair program. Scott said a lateral line is a connection from a home to the wastewater system’s main line. If there is damage to the lateral, it is up to the homeowner to have it repaired. Due to the high cost of having a lateral repaired, the board has been looking at how other cities handle such a scenario, especially in instances where a lot of laterals are damaged. As an example, Scott said if the lateral runs 100 feet from the house to the main line, it could cost as much as $3,000 to fix.
Their research has shown that some cities will pay for the repair themselves and then allow homeowners to pay it off through an increase in their monthly bill. No decision was made on the matter because the board is still working to determine how many laterals are damaged through smoke testing. Scott said there may not be a need to establish such a program.
Now that a judge approved a $20 million settlement for BP oil spill, the Pearl River County Utility Authority put in a request for some of the funding. Board President Sonny Sones said he had a meeting with the Gulf Coast Regional Utility Authority, where it was shared that the money from the settlement should start flowing this year. There is no guarantee Pearl River County will receive some of the settlement.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox