Clearer, better tasting water may be flowing in Gautier soon

GAUTIER, MS (WLOX) - At Walgreens in Gautier, employees are unloading one of the stores biggest sellers, bottled water.  When it goes on sale, the water fly's out the door.

"It was the top complaint when I was running for mayor and it remains the top complaint from the citizens of Gautier is the condition of the city water," Mayor Tommy Fortenberry said.

At the city water department, Emily McDonald is changing her billing address, even though she doesn't drink it.

"It's pretty discolored and it and it has a metal, metallic kind of taste to it so I just don't prefer it. I drink bottled water," McDonald said.

It's the same story at the Carpet Mart, where Lisa Boothe works.

"We just stock up on bottled water. We fill out fridge full of bottled water," Boothe said.  "That's all we drink around here.  It's even hard to get the drinks from the local businesses."

Clear water may be coming though, with and ion filtration system for the city.

"Clean, clear water can help sell Gautier to newcomers," City Manager Samantha Abell said. "So it is the number one most critical issue when it comes to enticing new development to the city of Gautier. And for that reason, it's our number one priority for how to solve it."

But an ion filtration system won't come cheap. The system will cost $7.2 million in three separate phases.  City leaders say they're going to try to be creative when coming up with ways to find that funding.

"Some of the funding that we're looking at with the Restore Act and with NERDA, the BP litigation and then also through USDA grants. There is other funding opportunities out there," Abell said. "We're aggressively targeting those funding opportunities."

The city of Gautier has about 7500 customers that use 1.6 million gallons of water a day.

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