Corinth water program proceeds

CORINTH – The Corinth water system takes the next step to bring water from the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway as it prepares to construct the water treatment plant and lay treated water lines.
It’s part of a long-envisioned process to ensure that Corinth has the water it needs for future development.
The Corinth Utility Commission last week approved the last two of three bids for the work, said General Manager Chris Latch.
P.F. Moon and Co. of West Point, Ga., was awarded the contract to construct the treatment plant, with a low bid of $20,850,000 of four bids received.
The contract to build the water transmission and distribution lines from the treatment plant to Corinth was awarded to Kajacks Contractors of Maumelle, Ark.
Kajacks’ bid for the transmission line, at $6,118,349, was the lowest out of 18 bids received. The company’s bid for the distribution line, $3,377,166, was the lowest of 17 bids received.
“We were very glad to see that many people interested in the project,” Latch said.
The commission accepted the lowest bids on the projects based on recommendations from project engineers Cook Coggin.
When the estimated $50 million project is completed around 2011, the Corinth water system will begin bringing its water supply from the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway as a stable, long-term supply source to support ongoing industrial development.
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 water treatment plant will be constructed on a 70-acre site the utility owns, located about 7 miles east of Corinth on U.S. Highway 72.
“The site preparation is finished and that contractor is simply maintaining our storm water permit there until the next phase of work begins,” Latch said. “They should be able to start work as soon as we give the notice to proceed.”
Though the Corinth Utility Commission has known since the 1980s that it needed to consider alternate water sources, planning began in earnest early in the decade to bring surface water from the Tenn-Tom as a future water source for Corinth.
An economic development expansion by Kimberly-Clark was blocked in 2000 due to the utility’s inability to guarantee the water supply the company needed, and officials began to plan for an alternate water source for industrial development, according to a 2005 case study by the Appalachian Regional Commission, “Drinking Water and Wastewater in Appalachia.”
The commission has executed its plan to acquire land at the eastern edge of Alcorn County, obtain permits from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to pump water across their land from the waterway and a permit from the Tennessee Valley Authority to pump water out of the waterway.
The cost of the project has more than doubled from the $24 million estimate in 2006 to Cook Coggin Engineers’ projected cost of $50 million to $51 million now.
Funding for the project is a combination of several sources: $7.5 million from a 2007 federal appropriation, a $16.4 million low-interest loan from the Mississippi Department of Health in 2008, about $20 million in stimulus funds and the utility’s own funds.
Constructing the treatment plant will conclude the first of the project’s three phases, and laying the transmission and distribution lines into Corinth will complete the second phase.
“The last phase is to build the intake structure on the bank of the Tenn-Tom that will bring the raw water to the treatment plant,” Latch said.

Contact Lena Mitchell at (662) 287-9822 or lena.mitchell@djournal.com.

Lena Mitchell/NEMS Daily Journal