Haven Acres’ long sewage issue nears a work date

By Emily Le Coz/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – Work could begin by March to fix a decades-long problem of raw sewage backing into some Haven Acres homes.
The Tupelo Water & Light Department has completed its inventory of the neighborhood’s underground sewer network. It found about 40 percent of the homes there will need new connections, said TW&L Manager Johnny Timmons.
The project now is in the engineering phase, and the city will then seek bids for a contractor to perform the work. It’s expected to take about five months to complete.
When it’s done, it will have corrected an issue that has plagued the south Tupelo subdivision for years.
The residents there “are excited, like they’re waiting on Santa Claus,” said Ward 7 City Councilman Willie Jennings, who also lives in the neighborhood and successfully lobbied for the repairs.
He had backing from the mayor and council.
“A lot of the people have been struggling to fix that themselves, and they just assumed that’s their problem,” Jennings said. “But the city annexed that area, and so it’s the city’s responsibility.”
The project will provide each house in Haven Acres its own connection to the main sewer lines running under the streets.
Currently, some 130 homes inside the subdivision share a connector line with one or more neighbors. Raw sewage can clog easily at the connection site, causing it to flow into the homes, said Brett Brooks, an engineer with Cook Coggin consulting with the city.
Tupelo inherited the problem when it annexed Haven Acres in 1989. The subdivision, which today has more than 300 homes, was developed in the early 1970s in an incorporated area with no infrastructure codes or requirements.
Since annexation, the city has provided some homes individual connections but charged residents $1,500 for the service. Not all households can afford the fee, leaving many to suffer the hassle and odor of raw sewage in their homes.
It will cost about $435,000, nearly half of which will come from a Community Development Block Grant the city won in October.