Waste treatment

New Albany is awaiting word on whether it will receive $855,000 in money from President Obama’s stimulus package to make a much needed upgrade to its wastewater/sewage collection and treatment facilities.

City officials and engineers with Cook Coggin Engineers of Tupelo, who handle the city’s wastewater engineering work, are optimistic the federal money will be approved. The remainder of the $1,710,000 project will be financed through a loan.

Tim Roberts, senior engineer with Cook Coggin, said he anticipates hearing this month whether the subsidy, which is administered by the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality, will be available.

Roberts said the money will pay for two specific improvements. One is the conversion of two sludge lagoons at the treatment plant to storm-water equalization basins. The city currently has four sludge lagoons and two storm-water basins.

Over time since the facility was built in 1994, engineers have determined the city actually needs two-sludge lagoons and four storm-water basins, Roberts said, especially to handle storm water runoff during heavy rains.

The second project will divert sewage from the west side area around Moss Hill Road, New Albany Elementary School and West Bankhead into a direct line to the wastewater/sewage facility.

Sewage currently flows from the west side areas in an under-sized pipe across the Tallahatchie River to near downtown and then is pumped back across the river to the treatment plant, Roberts said.

These projects are important to our city’s development and are a reminder that the federal stimulus money is going into real projects to take care of real needs in our state.