City Officials Holding Public Forum for Sewer Treatment System - WHLT 22 Connecting the Pine Belt

City Officials Holding Public Forum for Sewer Treatment System

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The deadline for the city of Hattiesburg to choose a new water treatment system is slowly approaching. It's down to two options, land application or a mechanical treatment system. The Hattiesburg City Council has until May 31st to decide. Land application would reuse the city's sewer water and apply it to about eight thousand acres of land. Eliminating any discharge into the Leaf River. City engineers say a mechanical treatment plant is considered predictable and easier to manage.

"The current lagoon system has afforded us some cheap rates." Shae McNease is the vice president of Hattiesburg's Resource Group. He says no matter which system is chosen, city water rates will increase. A functioning treatment system goes beyond the cost. "It not only affects our ecosystem, but it affects our public welfare as well as the livelihood of our city." Protecting the ecosystem gives land application treatment the upper hand. "Some of the pros of it, it that it would eliminate the discharge into the leaf river."

The downfall to the land application is the unpredictability.

"Some cons to it is that it's a natural processor with some level of predictability with it there's also some costs that are hard to capture and predict and deal with it."

Another factor, finding 8 to 12 thousand acres of land, two proposals have been presented to the council.

"As far as the mechanical treatment goes it is a tried and true proven technology." McNease says engineers know how to expand the plant and how to deal with needed changes but with the treatment plant. It would continue to discharge in to the Leaf River.

"Another con could be its up front cost but we're seeing that's not really the case now giving we're getting in numbers on land application."

He wouldn't go into specifics on the cost, but land application or the treatment plan could cost around 150 million dollars.

McNease says some major concerns from the citizens. Will the south lagoon be shut down? That depends on the treatment plan. The smell in Downtown will be virtually gone with either plan. If you have any questions or concerns city officials are hosting a public forum Thursday, May 2 at 6 o'clock at the Hattiesburg Cultural Center.

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