By Lena Mitchell/NEMS Daily Journal
CORINTH – It took an act of Congress and $50 million, and it’s now time to show off Corinth’s water treatment plant and distribution system.
Six years after Congress passed the Water Resources Development Act and approved the first $7.5 million grant for Corinth, its gas and water department has a dedication of the facility and reception scheduled for 10:30 a.m. today.
The event is at the Clifford G. Worsham Surface Water Treatment Facility on U.S. Highway 72, about 1.5 miles east of Central School Road, and the public is invited. Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves is the special guest.
“This project will provide a long-term, dependable water supply for the future and prove vital to the economic growth to the region,” said facility General Manager John Rhodes.
Officials have said there is no immediate water shortage for Corinth, but the Paleozoic aquifer that supplies the city’s water now also is supplying area rural water associations, and the source is being depleted.
“The city of Corinth Public Utilities Commission gained approval from the Tennessee Valley Authority, Corps of Engineers and the state of Mississippi to construct a surface water project and utilize the Tennessee River via the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway as the water supply source,” Rhodes said.
The project will bring 10 million to 16.5 million gallons of water per day to Corinth Gas & Water’s approximately 7,000 customers.
Capacity also includes an ability to supply to outside associations, and Rhodes said they have talked so far with Kossuth and Alcorn water associations, but will be more actively pursue others with marketing.
The four-phase project included building the treatment facility on U.S. 72; laying water lines from the treatment plant to Corinth; running water lines from the intake structure at the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway to the treatment plant; and constructing the intake facility at the Tenn-Tom Waterway.
Once all construction phases were completed, the state health department conducted water quality tests in mid-March. The health department’s three-part evaluation includes technical, managerial and financial assessments on a 5-point scale, with a 5 being a perfect score.
“Corinth Gas & Water received a maximum evaluation in all three categories, earning the department an overall perfect score for the second consecutive year and third perfect 5 in three of the last four years,” Rhodes said.
Once those tests were completed, engineers opened the valves to begin supplying water from the new treatment facility to Corinth’s distribution system, with water customers warned that flushing discolorations out of the system would take several weeks.
“We test the quality of our water three times a week to ensure the health and safety of our system,” Rhodes said. “The results of these water quality tests are published annually to the public each year.”