Harrison County water project critical to future growth

By Steve Phillips - bio | email

HARRISON COUNTY, MS  (WLOX) - A $25,000,000 water project in Harrison County will accommodate growth and serve as a back-up system in the event of future hurricane damage.

The formal ground breaking happened Friday morning, but the actual work is already underway on a system that will include 20 miles of new water lines, five deep water wells, and four elevated water towers.

Drive along Highway 67 and you'll see stacks of water pipes.

Along Old Woolmarket Road, the new pipes are already in the ground.  The 16 inch lines are the distribution system for a 25 million dollar water project.

Supervisor Connie Rockco outlined project plans at a brief ground breaking ceremony.

"It became very apparent to everyone statewide and federally that we do need water and sewer in the unincorporated areas, because that's where the growth is coming," she said.

Very soon, the "Tradition" tower won't be the only elevated water tank along Highway 67.

"We're putting in 20 miles of 16 inch water lines to service the eastern central Harrison County, along with four ground water wells and four elevated tanks," said design engineer Mike Reid.

The water project is being funded with federal Community Development Block Grant money.  It is the latest development in what's been a very busy year for the Harrison County Utility Authority.

"We have 26 projects. And basically, we've broken ground on 24 out of 26," said director Kamran Pahlavan.

"Ever since Katrina, we have seen the need for water and sewer service in unincorporated areas, especially in the Woolmarket area, because that seems to be in the direction people are moving trying to escape the surge zones and surge area," said Rockco.

Along with accommodating future growth, the water system will also serve as a back-up should a future hurricane damage water systems farther south.

"If the well heads in Biloxi and Gulfport get flooded, the fresh water will be able to come down from the central part of the county to support the citizens along the beach and the south part of the county," said Reid.

While some parts of the country are facing a shortage with their supplies of fresh water, Harrison County is fortunate.

The engineer says the water for this project is coming from wells a thousand feet deep.  The water is good quality and the underground supply is expected to be very long lasting.

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