HARRISON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Officials broke ground on Wednesday for a project that eliminates the need for many underground septic tanks. Five million dollars will be spent to upgrade Delisle's wastewater collection plant. The multi million dollar infrastructure investment will prepare the west Harrison County area for a development boom that many people are predicting.
The wastewater system improvements in Delisle will also complete an expansion that West Harrison County Water and Sewer commissioners originally talked about in 2005.
"We were supposed to hook up 300 homes at the time of the storm," remembered Eugene Niolet.
He's the chairman of the West Harrison Water and Sewer District. But just as this wastewater collection tank was going on line, Hurricane Katrina shut it down.
Welton Cuevas is a sewer district board member.
"After the hurricane we had no homes to hook up," Cuevas said.
The Lobouy Road wastewater plant went back on line within a month of the storm. Consequently, when the Pass Christian school system began operating all of its classes at Delisle Elementary School, that area immediately hooked up to the sewer system. John Orzene called that "a blessing."
Orzene was with Harrison County supervisors, and the county's utility district on Wednesday. They all wore hard hats as they broke ground on a five million dollar West Harrison Wastewater System expansion.
The upgrades planned at the plant will double the size of the sewage system. The 75 homes currently tied to the wastewater tanks will grow to 240. And a variety of new developers who may be coming to west Harrison County will have the ability to flush their sewage into a central system rather than into underground septic tanks.
Chairman Niolet says the expansion is vital because, "This area is growing faster than any other area in Harrison County."
Ron Robertson is the project manager overseeing the expansion.
"It's going to be good for development and as far as the health of the citizens," he said.
The health issue is what sewer district board member Connie Bourne mentioned. She said the new amenities at the sewer plant will be "keeping the river and the bayous clean, and Bay St. Louis clean."
The wastewater system expansion in Delisle should take 12 to 16 months to complete. A combination of CDBG money, and FEMA proceeds are paying for the work.