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Mr. Nathan Husman, P.E., Engineering Manager of Water and Wastewater Resources, Neel-Schaffer, expressed his happiness with the project.“We broke ground today on the most advanced, most energy-efficient, and most cost-efficient wastewater treatment facility in the state of Mississippi.This facility incorporates the latest technologies to offer energy savings, reduced operating costs, reduced manpower costs, and truly innovative biological solutions for wastewater treatment.”
For over twenty years McComb had been challenged with the task of continuing to operate its existing wastewater treatment facilities among increasingly stringent environmental requirements.Neel-Schaffer had been instrumental in developing innovative solutions in extending the life of the existing lagoon treatment plants.However, “it was inevitable the requirements of wastewater treatment would exceed the capability of these facilities,” Husman said.“It became clear that the city must move forward with the construction of a new mechanical facility to replace these aging lagoon treatment plants.With bold leadership from city officials and working in strong partnership with our state regulatory agency, we are excited to say that today we are taking the final step on our long twenty-year journey, ushering in a new day of environmental stewardship and economic development for the City of McComb.”
Neel-Schaffer assembled a team of over fifty professionals, including architects and environmental, civil, structural, and electrical engineers, and worked closely with the DEQ to complete a twelve-month design project in only six months.Working with the city’s legal, accounting, and public works departments, along with the DEQ, they also secured the largest single low-interest loan offered to a community in Mississippi.This loan will save the city of McComb millions of dollars over the life of the loan, when compared to other funding sources.“This new facility will create job opportunities for the citizens of McComb,” Husman said.“We will see a positive impact throughout this city as a result of this $31,000,000 investment in the future.It will help our area attract new industries.We will be able to serve as a regional resource for our neighboring communities and Pike County as a whole.We can also continue to secure the leadership role in Southwest Mississippi that McComb has always been known for.” Husman said that Neel-Schaffer has enjoyed being a part of McComb for over twenty-five years.He expressed gratitude for the trust that the city of McComb has placed with them as professionals.
Mrs. Trudy Fisher, Executive Director of the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality, opened her comments by noting that, in terms of economic and environmental development, “the city of McComb is rockin’ and rollin’—You’ve got it goin’ on!”She had spoken with Governor Haley Barbour the previous day and expressed to him how pleased and impressed she was with the progress of the wastewater treatment facility, especially in such a short period of time.As the governor was not able to attend the groundbreaking, Fisher read the following statement prepared by him for the event: “New and improved infrastructure, such as today’s wastewater treatment facility, is an important tool in promoting economic development and improving the quality of life for citizens.I commend the City of McComb for its work on this important project.”
Fisher went on to say that the low-interest loan came from the SRF, or State Revolving Funds, program, a combination of state and federal monies.For every dollar of state general funds secured, the federal government contributes five dollars.“Without fail, Fisher said, “your elected officials in the state legislature have always recognized the importance of this program, and have steadfastly supported this low-interest loan program.”Fisher also said she has observed a greater public awareness of environmental issues.“But the City of McComb has exceeded the public expectation of what the city of McComb can do.This is a one-of-a-kind, state-of-the-art facility.Funding was an easy decision to make, because everyone had done the necessary background work to make this a tremendous success.”Fisher added that this new facility says to our neighbors: “Come to McComb—come see what we can do!”
Mr. Hibbett Neal, P.E., President of Neel-Schaffer, spoke next.He reminisced on the twenty-five year relationship of his company with McComb, and said “it’s been such a great honor to have been part of McComb--we feel like we are part of the community.”Neal recognized three of the original six founders of the company who were present at the groundbreaking ceremony: Keith Lott, McComb office manager, Dwight Frith, resident project manager, and contractor Max Foote.
McComb Mayor Zach Patterson closed the ceremony by first recognizing others present.He noted the presence of Mayor Percy Robinson of Summit and Mayor Melvin Harris of Magnolia. Of these neighbors, along with Mayor Harrell of Osyka, Patterson said, “We are not only close in proximity, but close in our mindset, close in our plans.Rest assured we are on the same page in looking forward together.”
Next Patterson recognized Ronnie Lindsey, whom the mayor described as “the real brain and the real workhouse behind this wastewater treatment facility. He’s steady on the reins, and he makes things happen for us.”
Then Patterson recognized the selectmen, city administrator Jim Storer, and State Senator Kelvin Butler.Patterson also recognized all the Neel-Schaffer employees, naming them “partners,” rather than contractors or engineers.Patterson also thanked Mrs. Fisher of the DEQ and asked that she relate his appreciation to the governor upon her return to Jackson.
Patterson was upbeat in his comments: “We’re absolutely excited today—this represents a historical moment in the City of McComb and Southwest Mississippi.This is an investment—not a project, but an investment in our future.Some people do not appreciate investments until years out, so please be patient.Those naysayers will recognize--ten years down the road, maybe--what we’re doing here today.You who are here today see the vision, you know what’s going on, and I appreciate you for it.The majority of citizens recognize what we are trying to do, and the rest of them are coming along, too.This is the dawning of a new day in Southwest Mississippi.We will keep moving forward and planning ahead.”
Patterson also spoke of how the wastewater treatment facility is an opportunity not only to “green” McComb, but also to save money and even generate revenue.Because the plant is “scalable” (you can add on things down the line as needed), officials are looking for ways to one day capture the energy produced during wastewater treatment and make the facility an electricity-producing plant, possibly able to power itself and even produce surplus electricity the city can sell to surrounding municipalities.
The groundbreaking ceremony was hosted by the McComb Recreation Department (Mr. Joseph Parker, Director) and the McComb Community Relations and Tourism Bureau (Ms. Tasha Dillon, Director), with special thanks to Mrs. Marjorie Wicker Neel-Schaffer.
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real estate agent's blog. McComb, Mississippi, Pike County, Amite County, Walthall County, Lincoln County, Southwest Mississippi, SW MS, Summit, Magnolia, Tylertown, Brookhaven, Liberty, real estate, homes and land for sale.
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