Hattiesburg, Mississippi – On Tuesday, May 24, Mayor Toby Barker was joined by Water and Sewer Director Alan Howe, water operators and water division staff at Water Plant #1 on Hwy 42 to announce Hattiesburg’s fourth consecutive perfect score – a 5 out of 5 – for the annual inspection of its drinking water supply.
“We are thrilled to receive another perfect score on our annual water supply inspection,” said Mayor Toby Barker. “The citizens of Hattiesburg can have confidence in the quality of their drinking water because of the proactive leadership, investments and processes at our water and sewer department.”
The report, conducted by the Mississippi State Department of Health, looks at operations across three categories: technical, managerial and financial.
“We received a perfect score across three categories and 15 subsets,” said Howe. “Water supply quality is our highest priority, and 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.”
While looking at specific categories, inspectors also have an opportunity to provide commendations when applicable.
This year’s report stated, “System officials should be commended for the continuous improvements made to the infrastructure and plant improvements. All required records were well organized and maintained.”
This is the fourth perfect score the City has received since 2019, and the fifth perfect technical score since 2018.
- 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.
In addition to sharing the results of its drinking water supply report, Barker announced upcoming upgrades to Water Plant #1.
The city operates three plants, Water Plant #1 on Hwy 42, Water Plant #2 on James Street and a third on Weathersby Road. In planning, the administration identified Plant #1 with the most prevalent upgrades needed for continued excellence.
“As many parts of our city’s infrastructure, continued excellence requires continued investment,” said Barker. “From streets to sewer lines and storm drains to water supply, we must always be proactive in updating what we have. Today, we announce a $1.3 million dollar investment into Water Plant #1 all with the goal of keeping our water quality and operations at the highest level possible.”
- 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 being funding 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 contractor of record is Hemphill Construction, with engineering design by Shows, Dearman & Waits. Work is slated to begin in three months and should be completed within one year.
To download the full report: 2022 | Report of Inspection of Drinking Water Supply for Hattiesburg.