Hattiesburg Receives Fifth Consecutive Perfect Score for Water Supply

Hattiesburg Receives Fifth Consecutive Perfect Score for Water Supply

Hattiesburg, Mississippi – On Thursday, July 7, Mayor Toby Barker was joined by Water and Sewer Director Alan Howe, water operators and water division staff at Water Plant #2 on James Street to announce Hattiesburg’s fifth consecutive perfect score – a 5 out of 5 – for the annual inspection of its drinking water supply.

“We are proud that Hattiesburg’s water supply has received a perfect score for the fifth consecutive year,” said Barker. “It is a tremendous accomplishment for our water and sewer staff and a testament to the department’s leadership, proactive maintenance and capital investments in infrastructure. Our citizens can have full confidence in Hattiesburg’s water supply and system operations.”

The report, conducted by the Mississippi State Department of Health, looks at operations across three categories: technical, managerial and financial.

“As a department, the quality of our water supply is our highest priority,” said Howe. “We have a top-notch team who work around the clock to collect daily samples, readings and paperwork to make sure the City of Hattiesburg is in compliance and beyond where possible.”

This is the fifth perfect score the City has received since 2019, and the sixth perfect technical score since 2018.

  • July 2023 – 5/5
  • June 2022 – 5/5
  • May 2021 – 5/5
  • June 2020 – no report due to COVID-19, all agencies kept the same score from the year prior.
  • June 2019 – 5/5
  • June 2018 – 4/7, points were docked due to lack of audits
  • June 2017 – 4/5, points were docked due to high iron levels

MSDH makes its visit to the water plant for its annual inspection each year in May, with the exception of 2020 due to COVID-19 restrictions.

The city operates three plants, Water Plant #1 on Hwy 42, Water Plant #2 on James Street and a third on Weathersby Road. In 2022, the administration identified Plant #1 with the most prevalent upgrades needed for continued excellence. Those upgrades continue to take place. 

“The $1.3 million dollar investment for upgrades at Water Plant #1 we announced in 2022 are well underway and are purposeful as we keep our water quality and operations at the highest level possible,” added Barker. 

These upgrades include new equipment and safety features, including:

  • A new rapid mix tank
  • A modernized lime feeder that will allow the use of a powder lime that can be dropped into the new rapid mix tank, and not have to be pumped — avoiding clogging and malfunctions.
  • Filter rehab
  • New access stairs for employee safety
  • Chlorine vent fan, a much-needed safety feature

In total, the upgrades will cost $1,305,095 and are funded by a revolving loan through MSDH. Through this program, which was applied for and secured, the City will be able to obtain up to 35% back in loan forgiveness – making a portion of this project funded by the state and federal government.

The upgrades are scheduled to be completed by early 2024.

To view the 2022 Water Supply Report, visit https://www.hattiesburgms.com/wp-content/uploads/2022_drinkingwatersupply_report.pdf.