Wildwood residents ask to be billed for actual usage
Published 7:00 am Friday, November 18, 2016
A representative with the Wildwood Homeowners Association spoke with the Pearl River County Utility Authority Board of Trustees about being billed for actual usage instead of a flat rate for wastewater services.
Earlier in the year the Board approved a motion to charge flat rates in areas where water companies declined to provide the Utility Authority with actual usage. That rate was set at $35.75, according to previous coverage.
Brian Briscoe, the representative for the Wildwood Homeowners Association, said residents in that subdivision would rather pay for actual usage instead of the flat rate because about 70 percent of the homes are occupied by two people but under the flat rate are being billed for usage equivalent to a family of four. That means if the homes occupied by two people were charged for actual usage, their bill would be less.
Briscoe said there are about 100 homes in the subdivision, all of which have water meters that are read manually by the water company employees.
Ray Scott, Utility Authority executive director, said the residents would be better off under the flat rate. The Utility Authority’s minimum monthly rate for wastewater service is $29.75 for 3,000 gallons of waste\water treatment.
The Board agreed to contact the water service provider and attempt to receive actual usage numbers.
Those customers are billed for wastewater treatment through a lagoon and drip field currently receiving about $1.5 million in renovations. The Board intends to invite the residents to see the completed project.
Engineer Vernon Moore said that project is nearly complete, he is just waiting on the installation of an air release valve to address an air lock problem with the system.
In other project updates, the wastewater rehabilitation project in Picayune is also nearing completion. The project was scheduled to be complete by Dec. 3, but Moore estimates some additional work may be required after that date.
Scott said he has requested to be put on the Picayune City Council agenda to provide the Council with an overview of the work conducted. The $6 million project rehabilitated about 25 miles of wastewater line, but only involved digging up about a mile of roadway.
The Board also approved a motion to accept a bid from VideComp to install about 80 supervisory control and data acquisition systems on the Utility Authority’s pump stations. Scott said a committee formed by the Board interviewed several companies to determine the best one, determining that the Picayune based VideComp was the best for the price.
Once installed, the SCADA systems will alert Utility Authority staff to power outages, communication errors, when pumps fail to operate, provide checks on how long motors run and when pumps turn on and off.
The bid was for $80,000 and will include installation of between 80 to 85 of the devices. Scott said the Utility Authority maintains 85 pump stations, all of which have to be inspected daily by staff as per Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality regulations. After the system is installed, pump stations will only have a to be manually inspected weekly, feeing up staff to conduct other work, such as preventive maintenance, said Operations Director Allen Howe.
The next meeting will be Dec. 15 at 2 p.m. in the boardroom at the Neal Road facility in Picayune.