City officials have until May 31st to reach a decision on a treatment plan for the city's south lagoon system. The two options are a mechanical treatment plant or a land application site. For months the city has been de-sludging the lagoon system causing a foul odor throughout parts of Hattiesburg.
Sludge removal is recommended every ten years as a routine maintenance process in all lagoon systems. We talked with city engineer Bert Kuyrkendall about future plans for the lagoon and the big stench in the hub city.
The city has two options to choose from in order to meet the Mississippi department of environmental quality regulation and decrease the amount of ammonia that's being discharged from the south lagoon in to the leaf and Bouie Rivers - that's either a mechanical treatment plant or land application. "The mechanical treatment plant costs more to put in initially; we're seeing it could cost less to run over time."
According to city engineer Bert Kuyrkendall, MDEQ is requiring the new treatment system be finished and in commission by July 2017. "We've got to decide at that point, then start the design process."
As for the de-sludging, contractors are still working on removing the foul odor. "We're still targeting the end of March to finish that." About five-thousand tons of sludge has been removed from the lagoon system. The foul odor will linger as the weather changes and de-sludging continues.