Tupelo to repair Haven Acres sewage woes

By Emily Le Coz/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – The city will spend nearly a half-million dollars to fix a decades-long sewage problem plaguing the Haven Acres neighborhood.
City Council members affirmed their support of the project during a Tuesday work session, although they won’t budget the funds until the 2011 fiscal year. The fiscal year begins Oct. 1.
The project will provide each house in Haven Acres its own individual connection to the main sewer lines running under the streets.
Currently, 127 homes inside the south Tupelo subdivision share a connector line with one or more neighbors. Raw sewage can clog easily at the connection site, causing it to flow back 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.
City leaders decided this week to correct the problem for all residents. They also hope to receive a Mississippi Development Authority grant that would pay half the estimated $435,000 cost.
“We will commit to the citizens that we’ll take care of that problem” with or without the grant, said council President Fred Pitts.
Because funds won’t become available until October at the earliest, the project likely won’t start until autumn or later. The city will seek bids from private contractors to do the work, and it will take about four or five months to complete, Brooks said.
It’ll be the second time in a half decade for Haven Acres to benefit from a major city project. In 2006, the city spent some $600,000 to improve storm-water drainage in the neighborhood.
“I know citizens will be grateful,” said Ward 7 Councilman Willie Jennings, who represents and lives in Haven Acres.

Contact Emily Le Coz at (662) 678-1588 or emily.lecoz@djournal.com.