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Supes OK new wastewater district


Tim Pratt



The Oktibbeha County Board of Supervisors Monday approved a resolution officially creating the East Oktibbeha Wastewater District.  


The board in two weeks is expected to appoint five commissioners to head the new wastewater district. After the county appoints commissioners, the state and the Public Service Commission must approve the establishment of the new district, said Ryan Gray, a landowner who is leading the project. Gray hopes construction of the new wastewater lines will begin by May or June 2010.  


The county''s approval Monday came after a concerned citizen urged the board to hold off on a decision until it investigates the matter further.  


Fred Allen presented the board with copies of the Northeast Mississippi Regional Water Management Plan, which outlines a regional stormwater and wastewater management approach. Allen wanted the board to look into the regional water management plan, which includes Lowndes and Noxubee counties, before approving the creation of the East Oktibbeha Wastewater District. 


"I think that it''s amazing that we have to have a presentation about creating an individual district in our own county, and the other counties are getting together a whole big master plan," Allen said.  


Allen said he wasn''t for or against the new district, but acknowledged he didn''t want to see the creation of "additional bureaucracies." 


Still, the board passed the resolution of creation unanimously.  


During phase 1 of the project, collection lines would be installed along Highway 182 from Hickory Grove Road to an existing line in front of the Cadence Bank Operations Center. Phase 2 of the project would install a sewer line perpendicular to Highway 182 on 16th Section Road. 


Additional phases also might be implemented to meet increased demand, with an ultimate goal to provide service for the entire county. 


The new lines would discharge the waste first at Mississippi State University and then in the city of Starkville''s wastewater treatment facilities. 


The entire project is estimated to cost about $3.5 million, Gray said.  


Gray said state and federal loans and grants are available, as well as stimulus funds and other sources of financing. The county wouldn''t be responsible for running or funding the new wastewater district. 


Gray owns property in Clayton Village, where residents rely on septic tanks and lagoon systems. 


"As far as the cost of implementation -- planning and construction -- I think this is the most feasible, cost-effective measure, which actually does two things: It provides service to residents who have inadequate service, as well as getting you the infrastructure you need for economic development," Gray said. "So, by doing this, you''re basically going to kill two birds with one stone." 


"One of the advantages of public sewage is you can have much smaller lot sizes," chimed in engineer Dwight Prisock, who is assisting with the project. "You can have more houses for an area than with the current situation of requiring a certain amount of acreage for a septic tank and field line."




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