City expected to name next operators of its water treatment plant

Published 10:18 pm Friday, April 29, 2016

ESG Operations, the Georgia-based company presently managing the city’s Water Treatment Plant on Haining Road, is expected to be offered a contract to operate the plant when the Board of Mayor and Aldermen meet Monday.

Mayor George Flaggs Jr. in a press release sent Friday said the board will authorize City Attorney Nancy Thomas to begin negotiations with the company for a 10-year agreement to operate and manage the plant. The company was hired to manage the plant on an interim basis in October after the board was unable to hire a certified water plant operator to meet state regulations.

“They were awarded (the operations) contract based on some criteria and they scored the best,” Flaggs said. “We had no other option but this, and I think this is the right course of action and the right direction to go for the city if we want to be able to maintain and enhance the quality of water service in this city.”

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According to the press release, the proposed cost for ESG to operate the plant is $804,000 per year with a $100,000 repair budget that would be reimbursed to the city of if it is not used. The city in fiscal 2015 spent $690,000 on salaries and benefits, minor repairs and other costs, according to the release. The fiscal 2016 budget for the water treatment plant is $5.072 million.

ESG, which operates 20 water and wastewater treatment plants in the southeast, was one of three companies submitting proposals to operate the plant. The other companies were Veolia Water North America, a subsidiary of Veolia, an international environmental company based in France with offices in several cities in the U.S., and Severn Trent, another international company based in Coventry, England, with an office in Houston, Texas.

All three bids were line item bids covering several areas. The proposals were reviewed by a committee appointed by Flaggs to examine and recommend the best plan.

“We looked at all of them and we weighed them all, and we do think that’s the best one to go with,” North Ward Alderman Michael Mayfield said.

He said ESG was doing a good job running the water plant and “we feel real good about them being able to manage that plant. Hopefully in the foreseeable future we’ll be able to operate it at a reasonable cost to the citizens. We feel good they will be able to do that.”

“We went by the recommendation of the committee that went through the proposals,” South Ward Alderman Willis Thompson said. “I was okay with them, based on what the committee found, and they’ve been running the plant for us for a few months now, flawlessly. We haven’t had any problems, so I have no problems with them. They’ve done very good work for us so far, and I think we’ve got the right company to run the plant.”


About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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