Diamondhead breaks ground on new wastewater treatment plant - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Diamondhead breaks ground on new wastewater treatment plant

A damaged and aging wastewater treatment plant will finally be replaced in Diamondhead. (Photo source: WLOX) A damaged and aging wastewater treatment plant will finally be replaced in Diamondhead. (Photo source: WLOX)
It was Hurricane Katrina that left Diamondhead's current wastewater treatment plant severely damaged. (Photo source: WLOX) It was Hurricane Katrina that left Diamondhead's current wastewater treatment plant severely damaged. (Photo source: WLOX)
Diamondhead's current wastewater treatment plant. (Photo source: WLOX) Diamondhead's current wastewater treatment plant. (Photo source: WLOX)
DIAMONDHEAD, MS (WLOX) -

A damaged and aging wastewater treatment plant will finally be replaced in Diamondhead. Those behind the plans say it has taken almost a decade to get the ball rolling.

It was Hurricane Katrina that left Diamondhead's current wastewater treatment plant severely damaged. That was a decade ago.

"It's been limping along with band-aids virtually every week and month," said Diamondhead Mayor Tommy Schafer.

Since then, the community became a city and Schafer became mayor. A project to replace the damaged plant was in the planning stages for years before Schafer started his new job, but progress has moved at a snail's pace.

Schafer said plans for a new plant were possibly in danger of losing funding from Federal Emergency Management Agency and Mississippi Emergency Management Agency.

"It just took a little bit longer to get to this point than perhaps it should have. However, they have granted extensions. We're on solid ground. We have a great team working and everybody's in agreement," said Schafer. 

One member of the team is Nancy Depreo, the general manager of the water and sewer district in Diamondhead. Depreo has only been on the job for nine months, but seeing this project come to life has been a source of pride for her.

Depreo said getting the project from the planning stage to putting the shovel in the ground was quite a task.

"It is a tremendous success story to get where we are today. This has been 10 years in the making. A lot of folks have been working really hard on it. Today it becomes a reality," Depreo said.

It’s a reality that Schafer hopes will bring a cleaner, safer and brighter future to Diamondhead. Schafer believes one of the best features of the project is its lack of impact on city rate payers.

Funding for the $36 million project is completely taken care of.

"This is being paid for with MEMA and FEMA, so it doesn't affect the rate payer at all," said Schafer.

According to Schafer, the new wastewater treatment plant should take about 18 months to complete. It is designed for possible expansion, in case the city grows.

The designs were completed by Volkert Engineering. The project was designed in consult with Manchac Consulting Group.

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