City needs to move out on plan to overhaul water, sewage infrastructure

Published 6:14 pm Saturday, August 6, 2016

Infrastructure upgrades rarely make for headline-grabbing news.

Often the subjects of grants, matching funds, regulations and engineering specs simply bore most of us.

Over the past few months, Vicksburg residents have learned first-hand just how important the infrastructure of a city is to our modern way of life.

Email newsletter signup

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletters

Check which newsletters you would like to receive
  • Vicksburg News: Sent daily at 5 am
  • Vicksburg Sports: Sent daily at 10 am
  • Vicksburg Living: Sent on 15th of each month

Water line breaks, critical sewage line repairs and repeated power outages at the city’s water treatment plant have occurred lately and are of serious interest to residents.

In those outages, boil-water notices required restaurants to restrict their menus and forced them to buy cases of bottled water just to maintain basic services.

In those outages, schools were forced to break out emergency rations of bottled water for their students and restrict access to water fountains.

Water line breaks have impacted families and businesses alike and, tearing up roads in the process and causing other problems.

Sewage line breaks and repairs have caused similar issues.

While the city of Vicksburg has made some infrastructure redevelopment plans, the City continues to be positioned to merely chase the leaks and breaks, rather than wholeheartedly addressing the problem.

Much of Vicksburg’s sewage infrastructure is more than a century old; it is far more than an antique; it is antiquated.

Just recently, the Board of Mayor and Aldermen discussed another $2 million for work on the city’s sewage system.

Elected leaders rarely like talking about infrastructure investment since such talk does not spark excitement among voters.

But such investment is desperately needed and worthy of serious community discussion soon. Taxpayers cannot express their support or opposition to a plan unless it has been discussed and the discussion needs to begin soon.

What would a complete overall of Vicksburg’s sewage system cost?

What about a sensible road and bridges program that builds for the long term and is not focused on simply patching? What about state-of-the-art water systems where boil-water notices are the exception and not the rule?

We simply do not know the answers now. But, what we do know is that doing nothing is no longer an option.