Wastewater study to start soon

By Emily Le Coz/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – A feasibility study on a regional wastewater treatment facility for north Lee County will begin this month with the awarding of the contract to Engineering Solutions Inc.
The Tupelo-based firm beat out three other companies for the $135,000 job. Cook Coggin Engineers of Tupelo, Thompson Engineering of Jackson and Volkert amp& Associates of Mobile, Ala., also had submitted qualifications.
Lee County supervisors awarded the contract Monday. They are partnering with the cities of Baldwyn, Guntown and Saltillo, as well as the Community Development Foundation and Three Rivers Planning and Development Foundation on the project. Each entity will pay $12,500 for the study.
The Appalachian Regional Commission also contributed $60,000 to the project through a grant.
“We’re anxious for them to get started on that,” said Saltillo Mayor Bill Williams. “That’s a big deal for our area.”
Saltillo’s population grew by 40 percent in the past decade, putting a strain on its mechanical wastewater treatment facility. Guntown experienced the county’s largest percentage population gain over the past decade, growing by 76 percent.
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 and 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 forced each community’s individual wastewater treatment facilities to consider adding extra capacity.
ESI has until May 31 to complete the study, but one of its principals, Mike Falkner, said it probably won’t last more than six or seven months.