North Warren County residents hope water service comes their way

Published 12:00 am Monday, August 20, 2001

REPRESENTATIVES of Culkin and Valley Park water districts examine blueprints at a meeting Saturday. From left, Bobby Redding, an engineer with Neel-Schaffer Inc.; Alan Hendrix, a representative of Alford Engineering; Ken McClellan, Culkin Water District general manager; Warren County Supervisor Michael Mayfield and Bobby Braxton, president of the Board of Valley Park Water Association Inc.(The Vicksburg Post/C. TODD SHERMAN)

[08/19/01] Roy DeFrance doesn’t care from where his water comes as long as he gets it.

For the past 10 years, DeFrance has been hauling water to his home on Field Road off of U.S. Highway 61 North.

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“We have been trying to get water service for years and years, so I don’t care where it comes from,” he said.

DeFrance was one of three people who attended a public hearing Saturday morning at International Paper to find out when residents in north Warren County will get water service.

Bobby Braxton, president of the Board of the Valley Park Water Association, said water lines will start being placed to provide service to residents in Issaquena, Sharkey and Warren counties within the next few months.

DeFrance and about 150 other residents, who have been living with discolored water for years, will have their long-awaited water service when work is completed by January.

District 2 Supervisor Michael Mayfield called for Saturday’s meeting because, he said, the Valley Park lines, which will end a mile past the Warren County line, will still leave about six families near the Mississippi 465 area without water service.

“We don’t want to do anything to interfere with the Valley Park plans,” Mayfield said. “We just want to see if these other residents can be picked up.”

Braxton said the $90,000 Rural Development state grant will pay for only that part of the work that is planned.

“Once the system is in, we can go back and look into expanding it to include the other residents but, yes, that could be a while,” Braxton said.

Mayfield said plans to add a third well to the Culkin Water District have been in the works for the past year. One stumbling block has been the cost of the expansion, which could reach $1 million.

Culkin has 4,000 customers, including major industries at the Ceres Industrial Interplex. It will also serve the new River Region medical center and complex across U.S. 61 from its Culkin Road headquarters.

Mayfield said the board had decided to seek the funds from a Community Development Block Grant when members discovered Valley Park was seeking the same funds.

Ken McClelland, director of the Culkin Water District, said it would be easier for Valley Park to expand its lines than for the two entities to compete for the community development funds.

Enlarging the Culkin district would involve placing more than five miles of pipe that would have to cross the Yazoo River or building an elevated tank and installing a well north of the river.

The area is in a flood plain, which presents other problems for expansion of the district.

McClelland added that if Valley Park expand its lines they could tie into the Culkin system, which would provide them with a backup water supply.

“We just really want to do what is best for everybody involved,” McClelland said.

Mayfield said he hopes to hold a meeting in the next week with a representative of the state Rural Grant Program and find out if any more funds are available to expand Valley Park lines.