Aging Gulfport sewer plant needs costly improvements - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Aging Gulfport sewer plant needs costly improvements

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GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) -

 

The City of Gulfport faces a costly project that the federal EPA is demanding. Mayor George Schloegel says the city must make improvements to an aging sewage treatment plant.

And the price of that project could be as much as $100 million.

The sewage treatment plant near the airport, Gulfport south, was donated to the city decades ago, when the old Army airfield closed.

"So, we've got a sewer system in Gulfport that's as old as me, 70-years-old, with technology that continues to be challenged," said Mayor Schloegel.

Discharge from the aging sewage plant no longer meets federal EPA requirements.

"More phosphorus and more nitrogen are being released into the water and so our federal folks are telling us they want some corrective measures on those releases," said the mayor, during his Wednesday speech to the Gulfport Chamber of Commerce breakfast.

Those corrective measures are costly: $20 plus million dollars just to fix the discharge.

"We spend that $23 million, which will not give you anything. It just gives us a check off on the EPA list for nitrogen and phosphorus. It won't make your water any cleaner. It will just be something that we do according to the federal, unfunded mandate," said the mayor.

The mayor says another long term, but much more costly alternative would involve closing the sewage treatment facility, turning it into a pumping station and then sending the sewage to the much newer treatment facility off Seaway Road, near the interstate.

"The cost of going that route will probably be somewhere in the neighborhood of $80 to $100 million. Should we do the long range repair, as opposed to the short range repair?" said Mayor Schloegel.

The mayor says that tough decision will have to be settled soon, since the work must begin in the next year.

"What do we want to do in our city?  A major, major expense."

Mayor Schloegel says the water being discharged from the newer plant off Seaway Road is four times cleaner than the water coming out of the old Gulfport South facility.

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