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City gets $300K, needs $1 million for sewage repairs

NATCHEZ — The City of Natchez was awarded $300,000 this week to help fix sewage problems plaguing the Highland Boulevard area.

Community Development Director James Johnston said the Delta Regional Authority awarded the funding to install a pumping station on Highland Boulevard to alleviate overflowing sewage.

The grant will not, however, cover the costs of the entire project, which City Engineer and Natchez Water Works Superintendent David Gardner said is estimated at more than $1 million.

Natchez Water Works, Gardner said, will likely borrow the remaining funds needed through the state’s revolving loan program and pay it off over 20 years.

Residents in the area have complained about smelling raw sewage when heavy rains cause pressure on the sewer lines, blowing off a manhole cover approximately a quarter-mile west of U.S. 61 South. When this occurs, sewage sprays onto the Highland Boulevard bridge.

Sewage water and waste also washes into a stream that flows between residences and businesses in the area.

City Engineer David Gardner said the sewage problems on Highland have been an ongoing problem.

The pumping station will only be operating when excess sewage water exists, Gardner said. The station will not always be running, just when a backup in the system occurs, Gardner said.

The pumping station will pump wastewater out of the sewer pipes to a storage lagoon, which will then be drained into the wastewater plant for treatment, Gardner said.

By having the pumping station Gardner said, Natchez Water Works can control the flow of the wastewater, and the pipes and wastewater treatment plant would not get overwhelmed.

The exact location for the pumping station has not yet been determined.

“I’m sort of in a quandary as far as how to plan long-term, with (new industries at the port) coming in,” Gardner said.

New industries will require wastewater capacity, and Gardner said he would like to have all those details ironed out before deciding the location of the pumping station and the lagoon in which the overflow from Highland would be stored.

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