The success of an innovative sewage treatment system could determine if new homes will still go up in one Jackson County community.
Earlier this week, the State Health Department stopped issuing permits for septic tanks in Ocean Beach, an area plagued with sewage problems. But help may be on the way, in the form of a new experimental system. Tuesday, workers from the company Earthtek installed their first system in South Mississippi.
Chris Goldsberry describes life in his Ocean Beach home as almost unbearable.
"It creates a little problem with everything. You can't wash clothes. You can't use your dishwater. You've got to, like I say, limit your showers. It's just been a total mess," Goldsberry said.
To clean up his raw sewage mess, Goldsberry spent years pumping money into the problem. Then the owners of a sewage treatment company asked him for a favor. Earthtek wanted to install an $11,000 wastewater filtration system in his yard, for free.
"There's a problem in the state of Mississippi, and we know that this can correct the problem. The easiest way to do that is to put our systems in the ground and prove by test results," Earthtek Co-Owner Jay Pippen said.
With a new home construction forbidden in Ocean Beach, a lot of people will be watching those results.
Supervisor John McKay, who serves the Ocean Beach neighborhood, says Jackson County's economy needs to keep contractors working.
"They've got to buy brick, they've got to buy wire, they've got to hire electricians. They've got to hire people to put septic systems in and it spurs out, all out. So whenever you have a lot of home development, you have a lot of economic development," John McKay said.
Earthtek compares its invention to having a personal sewage treatment facility. Goldsberry thinks of it as what kept one more family from having their American dream go down the drain.
"Before I saw this system, I was almost at the point of just letting the house go back to the mortgage company," Goldsberry said.
Earthtek will install its wastewater cleaning system at one other Jackson County home in Gulf Park Estates. For more information about Earthtek, call 601-829-4022..