To those who served on the UA Board, I commend you

Published 7:00 am Friday, September 22, 2017

More than 12 years ago I sat in on the first meeting of a newly formed organization, as mandated by then Governor Haley Barbour.

It was formed in response to the damage caused by Hurricane Katrina, the Pearl River County Utility Authority.

The original aim of this new agency would be to ensure that water and sewer services would be secure should another storm of that magnitude strike again.

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As the years went by, the local water associations began to take offense to the creation of this organization. They feared their livelihood would be jeopardized if the Utility Authority took over their certification areas. That falsehood shared by the fearful sparked ire in the minds of each of those water association’s customers. Many angry people started attending Utility Authority meetings to protest something that would never come to pass.

But once that dust settled, people saw the positive outcome of the formation of this organization.  The city of Picayune and city of Poplarville now have new wastewater treatment facilities and new wells were built outside both municipalities. In Poplarville’s case, access to more water meant the ability to build more homes in the city, a feat out of reach to that city prior to the Utility Authority. 

In Picayune, that new wastewater treatment facility meant the city of Picayune would no longer be in fear of being fined by the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality for its failing treatment plant.

Now that all of those things have been accomplished, it was mentioned at this week’s meeting that the last two original members will be stepping down from that Board. I commend all of those who have served on this Board from the beginning. I know it wasn’t easy, especially those first few years.  It is my hope the remaining and incoming members will continue the efforts of those who served before them to ensure clean water comes from the faucet and the toilet flushes.