July 15, 2013 9:48:11 AM
Carl Smith - [email protected]
West Point officials said improvements to the city's waste water system will put its processing operations on par with Starkville and Columbus.
The city is in the beginning stages of a project which will retrofit a former industrial water processing system and connect it to West Point's sewage infrastructure. The site was previously purchased from one of the town's former food producers for $1.
The $6 million project won't expand the city's sewage-processing capacity, but it will allow West Point to save money by shutting down its lagoon and sand filter systems in the future, Mayor Robbie Robinson said. It will provide a higher standard of filtration and allow the city to receive improved Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality and Environmental Protection Agency certifications, West Point water superintendent Dwight Prisock said.
The project, which is funded by a MDEQ loan, could have cost West Point three times as much if it built a processing plant from the ground up. Prisock said a new facility could cost an estimated $18-20 million. McComb, he said, spent about $38 million on a similar plant.
"That's a lot of money for West Point. (Purchasing the old processing plant) was a heck of a deal," Prisock said.
Residents should not experience major issues as the city transitions to a new treatment station.
The city uses about 1.5 million gallons of its 3.2 million-gallon water processing capacity, Prisock said, but plans are also in the works to expand its infrastructure as construction begins on the incoming Yokohama tire plant.
Funds from the Mississippi Development Authority will help construct a 1 million-gallon elevated storage tank that the city will then connect to a pumping station and its water and sewage lines, he said.
While working on the Yokohama deal, the city benefited from excess water and sewage treatment capacity created when local food producers closed factory doors. West Point was home to Bryan Foods, which was purchased decades ago by Consolidated Foods. Consolidated Foods would later become the Sara Lee Corporation before it split into two companies, including the North American Hillshire Brands, in 2012.
Sara Lee closed its West Point operations in 2007.
Carl Smith covers Starkville and Oktibbeha County for The Dispatch. Follow him on Twitter @StarkDispatch