If approved, the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality will disburse a loan of $ 31,683,000 from Water Pollution Revolving Fund Loan Program to help the city of Jackson solve many of the sanitary sewer overflow issues facing the capital, Public Works Director Charles Williams told city council on Tuesday, May 25.
“We have identified several areas of the city, in terms of collection systems that need to be addressed,” Williams said during the council working session on Monday. “We have identified several areas of the city where the assessment process needs to be done. As you know, we came to the city council with an ordinance for (Compliance EnviroSystems) to go through and do some cleaning up in the city, and they found a lot of our sewer lines to be in poor condition. ”
Williams said necessary rehabilitation work will begin after mapping areas of need. “If we manage to get this loan, this money will finance any type of rehabilitation work in the areas that we have identified,” he added.
The next day, council authorized the city to apply for the loan. The resolution referred to a US Environmental Protection Agency and MDEQ Consent Decree 2013, which demanded that the “City determine the repairs and improvements necessary to bring the wastewater collection system into compliance with its National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit. “
Williams said at the council meeting on Tuesday that the loan was needed because the city’s income stream was low. “Ideally, we want to have income to do this work, but we have to use loans (state revolving funds) to do the necessary work,” he said. “We have set up areas within the city so that they can be dealt with, and that will be done in phases, or about six or seven phases.”
The director of public works said the $ 30 million loan will go to phases one and two of the necessary works. The City will hire consultants to develop a plan to resolve the issues with the sewer collection system after taking CCTV video footage of the sewer lines and cleaning.
8,000 Jackson households do not receive bills
Deputy Director of Public Works Carla Dazet told council on Tuesday the city had 8,000 “blocked bills,” indicating the number of households that are not receiving water bills due to problems in the billing system.
“We put them all at a fixed rate in January of last year,” she said. “And we’re bringing them in as we put (new) meters into service. We’re moving towards new software, which will completely eliminate the blocked bill.” She said it would start in the next few months.
“We should go live in July (or) August 1 (with the new system). And it has a verification system, which is different than what we have now. So there won’t be any more failed invoices. . They (customers) always may not agree with (the invoices). This can be estimated, (but) we will still be able to work with them under certain circumstances. But everyone will receive an invoice, “a added Dazet.
Dazet said the Water Sewer Business Administration office doesn’t turn off people’s water if they don’t pay their bills. “Our collection rate is around 85%,” she says. “But we have 14,000 customers who are not (up to date on their invoice, but) who receive an invoice.”
“(The mayor) asked that we put a safety net in place before we started (shutting off the water),” she added.
Email story tips to Kayode Crown Town / County reporter at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter at @kayodecrown.