On the eve of the second anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, Waveland's mayor says there is a silver lining among all the destruction. While the hurricane destroyed the city's water and sewer system, Mayor Tommy Longo says a $1 million overhaul now underway is the second chance of a lifetime.
The water and sewer lines going into the ground in Waveland are far superior to the ones Katrina put of out commission. Mayor Tommy Longo says the old clay terra cotta pipes tended to break and separate, but that shouldn't be a problem in the future.
"The PVC pipes and the different types of pipes that they're using in this system, the flex pipes that they're using in the gas system, is all state of the art. It enables the homeowners to make easier connections and there also won't be the infiltration. It will be a tight system, which will save the homeowner money," Mayor Longo said.
The mayor says Waveland will save money too because the re-engineered system will cut the number of lift stations by a third. As some of our nation's older cities watch their systems crumble, the mayor says Waveland has the chance to turn tragedy into opportunity.
"How many times did you wish you had a second chance or an opportunity where we wouldn't have done that the first time if we had that to do over again? We have an opportunity to do it over again," he said.
The project is only 25 percent complete. So for now crews must do a daily pump out of bladder tanks until residents can transition to new sewer lines. Longo says the inconvenience will be worth it in the end
Mayor Longo said, "An older city will now have state of the art utilities, state of the art water, sewer, gas systems. Brand new streets, brand new storm water control. They will the have the best that there is."
Water and sewer is expected to be complete in about 18 months, followed by street repaving and the addition of sidewalks. The mayor says a separate $400,000 project to redevelop the city's drainage and storm water system should eliminate many of the pre-Katrina flooding problems.