After attending a Concerned Citizens for Responsible Wastewater Presentation on April 17th, Councilman Carter Carroll pulled back from the $600 Million 30 year contract with Groundworx. Carroll said in his question and answer segment seen in the video below,
“Just until a few months ago we really didn’t know what the cost of getting out of the river was going to be. And let me just say this, I think $144 Million Dollars to take care the city our size sewer system is ridiculous. Now that we’ve taken care of the smell from the USA Yeast it kinda opens up another avenue. We certainly need to make the right decision for Hattiesburg.”
Actually the cost is $600 Million dollars over 30 years. That put a tremendous financial burden on the citizens with increases totaling over $1,200 per year in sewer increases PER METER.
Carter Carroll and Kim Bradley told citizens that “getting out of the river” is a must, referencing “EPA regulators” because permits are more restrictive and getting out from under EPA permits is a must. However, much of the land application area is in the Leaf River flood-way. So much so that Carroll mentioned in the video that they had to have EPA approved buffers in those areas. Carroll admitted that getting out of the river is not a requirement or necessity, but rather “a philosophy.”
USA Yeast was the largest problem Hattiesburg had with our lagoon system. Hattiesburg has 50% of the aeration we need at present, but when USA Yeast begins pre-treating their waste this summer we will have 20% excess aeration capacity. EPA reports have stated that our current lagoon system can function to meet limits even with the current USA Yeast discharge into the lagoons with adequate aeration.
Citizens have become more concerned after it became common knowledge that relatives of Councilwoman Mary Dryden and Kim Bradley will profit from the Groundworx project. Some have suggested that there may be ethical conflicts of interest involving their vote for the Groundowrx contract as well as Bradley and Dryden’s vote to hike sewer rates for the purpose of helping Groundworx secure taxpayer assisted financing.
The entire, unedited question and answer session is below.