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Permit for utility to build new wastewater plant approved

JACKSON — State regulators have approved a permit for the West Rankin Utility Authority to construct a new wastewater treatment plant over objections from the city of Jackson.

The Clarion-Ledger the city of Jackson currently provides wastewater services to the West Rankin area. In return, the utility authority pays the city about $5 million a year. The city told the Mississippi Commission on Environmental Quality that it needs the money.

The utility authority told the commission Wednesday that it is concerned about Jackson’s wastewater problems and increasing growth in the Rankin County that makes a new plant necessary.

“A new plant with better wastewater quality is a better solution for West Rankin and Rankin County folks for the future,” WRUA attorney Keith Turner said.

Turner said the city of Jackson has cited several different figures, ranging from $100 million to $250 million, as the estimated cost of fixing problems at its Savanna Street plant.

The plant was built in the 1960s and designed originally to service the city of Jackson.

“We don’t have a lot of faith in their ability to do cost estimates,” Turner said, also noting concerns about “inefficiencies” at the plant.

Turner said the cost of construction of a new plant would be around $125 million.

The city of Jackson has 30 days to appeal the board’s decision, though the permit at this point is valid under the law. If an appeal takes place and the board changes its mind at an evidentiary hearing, that decision could then be appealed in chancery court.

The WRUA serves the cities of Flowood, Pearl, Brandon and Richland.

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