Board approves contracts for water plant upgrades

Published 9:33 am Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Vicksburg’s water treatment plant on Haining Road is getting some upgrades.

The Board of Mayor and Aldermen Monday approved contracts with two companies to install new equipment at the plant and in the city’s well field. The board also amended a contract with Neel-Schafer Engineers to include an addition to the design of the plant’s proposed new electrical system.

City officials set aside $6.15 million for capital improvements at the water plant in the fiscal 2017 budget.

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The board authorized Mayor George Flaggs Jr. to sign a $1.143 million contract with Hemphill Construction of Florence to install new filters, a sludge pump and chemical tank at the plant.

Flaggs also signed a $145,000 contract with Control Systems Inc. of Jackson to install a monitoring and control system for the city’s water wells off Haning Road.

“These are all upgrades that we had budgeted for,” Public works director Garnet Van Norman said.

He said the filters will help expand the plant’s capacity.

Van Norman said the filters are a mix of rock and sand topped by charcoal. 

“There’s two vacant filter banks that were put in the plant when it was built in the ‘60s,” he said. “This is putting filters in those two banks where can have two more additional filers and increase the plant’s capacity a little bit.”

The project will also replace two sludge pumps at the plant and building a second chemical tank.

“We have one tank that we hold our bleach that we chlorinate the water with,” Van Norman said. “We’re putting in a redundant tank so we have two of them there in case something happens. It’s a precaution.”

The control systems, he said, are an upgrade from the present system, which Van Norman called “old and antiquated.”

“We’re using frequencies the FCC doesn’t even allow any more. This will be new, state-of-the-art to run our wells with.”

He said the system rotates using the wells based on use. Presently, water plant employees have to physically go out into the well field and cut some of the wells off and on manually.

The new system will allow workers to turn the wells off and on by remote control from the water plant.

The amendment to the Neel-Schafer contract includes work not included in the engineering firm’s original contract, and involves replacing a valve actuator and designing an interface system in the operations area.

The electrical system improvements, estimated to cost about $4 million, are a major component of the water plant upgrade.

The plant in 2016 was shut down three times because of electrical problems.

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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