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City to advertise for bids for new water treatment plant equipment

Vicksburg’s water treatment plant on Haining Road is due to get some upgrades following action by the Board of Mayor and Aldermen.

The board Monday authorized city clerk Walter Osborne to advertise for bids to install a new water treatment plant filter, new sludge pump and chemical tank upgrades and install new monitoring and control equipment.

Public works director Garnet Van Norman said the new equipment is part of the city’s plans to upgrade the water treatment plant, which was built in the late 1960s and went on line in 1969. The city has $6.15 million set aside for capital improvements in its fiscal 2017 budget for the water plant. “These are projects we have in the budget,” Van Norman said. “We had to upgrade the radio controls on the wells, then upgrade the filter bank, put new filters in it and the control valves.”

He said the filter is used after the water is treated to catch lime still in the water after it goes through the clarifier and softening process, and also catch whatever iron is still in the water. The sludge pump is used to move sludge from the clarifier and send it to be pressed and loaded onto a truck for disposal.

The new chemical tank, Van Norman said, will serve as a backup to the plant’s present tank, which is used for storing chlorine to treat the water.

“The monitor and control equipment for the filters, the structures that are up there now, were put in when the plant was built and they’re obsolete; we can’t get parts for them,” he said. “It’s all air-driven — they’re controlled by compressed air. The new stuff is electronic. We’ll put in good stuff that will last another 50 years.

In a related action, the board authorized Mayor George Flaggs Jr. to sign a contract with Water Company of American to perform an audit of water use in the city. The board in December approved a contract with the Houston, Texas-based company to audit the water system to find users who aren’t paying their fair share for what they use.

The city had a similar agreement with another company to perform an audit to find unauthorized use in the gas system.

Under the terms of the agreement, the city will pay the company only if it finds areas of misuse that generate increased income for the water system.

“They have to save us money in order to get paid,” Flaggs said. “It’s a no-brainer.”

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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