City to save by changing operators for wastewater treatment plant

BY LEESHA FAULKNER

Daily Journal

TUPELO – A change in companies overseeing operations of the city's wastewater treatment plant will save approximately $24,660 per year.

The savings will ward off an increase in water and sewage rates for city customers, city officials estimate. Council members approved the change in contract Tuesday from OMI to ESG Operations Inc. The contract is for three years, according to Johnny Timmons, manager of Tupelo Water & Light.

OMI has operated the treatment plant for six years. But in September, Timmons said, the company wanted a 16.7 percent increase to renew its contract. “That was, I think,” he said, “a little ludicrous.” The city negotiated OMI down to a 12 percent increase or $1.30 million per year, but, Timmons said, he didn't feel comfortable with that, either.

ESG Operations out of Atlanta proposed a yearly contract of $1.2 million. “Each of the three principle partners of ESG has, over the past 15 years, worked with more than 50 municipal clients managing the day-to-day operations,” Timmons said, “and maintenance of over 150 water and wastewater treatment facilities across the Southeastern United States.”

Employees working now at the wastewater treatment facility won't lose their jobs, the director of Tupelo Water & Light said, instead, they'll be interviewed by the new company.

Contact Leesha Faulkner at 678-1590 or leesha.faulkner@djournal.com