OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - An agreement signed this week between the city of Ocean Springs and the Corp of Engineers means the city's wastewater treatment facilities will be getting a major upgrade. It's an ambitious project that will cover just about the entire city. The best news, it won't cost city taxpayers a dime.
Alderman-at-Large Troy Ross said getting a handle on the problem now will mean fewer wastewater treatment problems in the future.
"This is one of those things that if you can fix it before you have a problem, no one will ever care," Ross said. "It's like the offensive line on a football team. As long as they're working and doing their job, everything works fine. But if they don't, all the glamorous positions start to falter."
The $4.2 million will be spent elevating lift station one, near the beach, to FEMA standards. Manholes across the city will be replaced, and other lift stations will also be improved with new technology. Even old sewer lines will be replaced using a new method that won't involve digging up any streets.
"The majority of the work is things that the public will never see," said James Foster with Compton Engineering. "Lining the existing sewer lines, which we basically insert a tube inside the existing lines, which eliminates groundwater from leaking into the sewer system."
While the multi-million dollar infrastructure improvement comes with a lot of obvious benefits, it also comes with one you may not think about.
"What's important for us is that every dollar we spend in fixing the sewer is less pollution in our waterways," Public Works Director Andre Kaufman said. "It reduces our costs for treatment to the wastewater authority and it's a win win for the city."
Under the agreement, the Corp will pick up 75 percent of the total cost, or about $3.2 million. The city will pay the remaining $1 million. That money will be borrowed from the state over 20 years at an interest rate of just one percent.