Improvements needed to accomodate industry, mayor says

The city of New Albany will soon move forward with plans to expand and improve its wastewater collection and treatment facilities, according to New Albany Mayor Tim Kent.

“The project would basically expand the city’s wastewater facility,” Kent said.  “As of right now, we’re at capacity.”

Kent said that with the city’s current businesses, homes and industries, there is no room to accomodate future growth. 

The city currently has a 2.5 million gallons/day oxidation ditch treatment facility with an average discharge of approximately 1.5 million gallons/day.   Kent said, however, that if the city plans to continue its growth, the capacity will have to be increased.

“All wastewater has got some metals in it,” Kent said.  “You’ve got to be careful because when you get to a certain point, those metals become too concentrated.”

The city has applied for an $855,000 subsidy from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 to help fund the project, estimated to cost $1,710,000.

The subsidy will be administered by the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality.

According to New Albany Light, Gas and Water manager Harold Smith, the city is currently waiting for the subsidy.

“Right now, what we’re doing is holding for the funds,” Smith said.  “The money will be used to change our treatment facility and open up some of our capacity.

Smith said that, when the improvements are made, he expects it to increase the city’s wastewater capacity by 50 percent.

In order to receive the stimulus funds, the city had to develop plans for the project and had to guarantee that it could begin within 90 days of approval.

“We’re okay right now,” Smith said.  “But we’ll need to increase capacity in order to grow.”

Kent agreed.

“Basically, we can’t recruit industry until this is done.

Anyone wishing to view the plan, including location and cost estimates, may contact the mayor at 534-1010.  Written comments will be received for a period of 30 days.