Lee County moves ahead with wastewater study

By Emily Le Coz/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – North Lee County residents could eventually flush their toilets with greater ease thanks to a grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission.
The ARC awarded $60,000 to Lee County for a feasibility study on a regional wastewater treatment facility.
Lee County supervisors on Monday voted unanimously to accept the grant and to seek requests for proposals from firms to handle the study.
It will cost an estimated $135,000.
The county, along with Baldwyn, Guntown, Saltillo, also each will contribute $12,500 toward the project. An additional $12,500 will come from both the Three Rivers Planning and Development District and the Community Development Foundation.
The study will assess current wastewater services and needs in north Lee County, look at current wastewater conditions, identify potential short-term and long-term solutions, assist with establishment of interlocal agreements or a regional authority, and provide cost estimates as well as a financing structure.
It comes after a decade of sharp population growth in the northern part of the county and especially in Guntown and Saltillo. The influx of residents has strained each community’s individual wastewater treatment facilities, forcing them to consider adding extra capacity.
Saltillo’s population grew by 40 percent in the past decade, putting a strain on its mechanical wastewater treatment facility. Williams said it has some reserve capacity, but an expansion is inevitable.
Guntown experienced the county’s largest population gain over the past decade, growing by 76 percent. Mayor Robert Herring said his city’s wastewater treatment lagoon is at capacity. The community must seek short-term solutions in addition to the long-range regional plan.
“This wastewater study will help us determine how the needs of the people of Guntown will be met as our town continues to grow and expand,” said Guntown Mayor Robert Herring in a press release. “We appreciate the vision of the Lee County Board of Supervisors, and the hard work of Randy Kelley and Three Rivers in helping us reach this point.”
Contact Emily Le Coz at (662) 678-1588 or emily.lecoz@journalinc.com.

Click video to hear audio