Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal, Tupelo

Sand Creek Wastewater Authority awarded $4 million federal grant

Daily Journal reports

TUPELO – A $4 million federal Economic Development Initiative grant, made available through the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, was recently awarded to the Sand Creek Wastewater Authority. SCWA services wastewater treatment to residents in Lee County. This funding award comes in large part from support by Lee County’s federal leadership to help offset wastewater service costs.

“On behalf of the board of the Sand Creek Wastewater Authority, we are very appreciative to Congressman Trent Kelly, Senator Roger Wicker, and Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith for working together to make this funding available to help expand our treatment plant capacity,” said George DeVaughn, president of the board and representative of Lee County.

In 2019, a partnership between Lee County, Saltillo, Guntown and Baldwyn created the Sand Creek Wastewater Authority, a long-range regional partnership to help share and offset costs among local governments serving over 4,000 households and businesses in the north part of Lee County. Since its inception, SCWA, governed by an appointed seven-member board, has made major improvements to meet clean water requirements for the cities it serves.

Many small towns in Mississippi have historically used old-fashioned lagoon systems to treat their wastewater. Environmental challenges and subsequent EPA restrictions have created the need for newer and more expensive mechanical treatment systems that can remove unwanted pollutants and provide cleaner water. The cost of these newer systems becomes burdensome for customers without sharing costs via regional partnerships and offsetting grant funds.

The Sand Creek Wastewater Authority maintains a major line that collects wastewater from municipal systems and collects at the mechanical treatment plant in Saltillo where it is cleaned and returned safely to Sand Creek.

Funding for those improvements has previously been assisted by some $4 million in state grants thanks to state Sen. Chad McMahan, Rep. Jerry Turner and state leadership supporting the Sand Creek Authority in the state legislature.

The next phase of work for the Sand Creek Authority is to expand the mechanical treatment plant in Saltillo to provide more state-of-the-art water cleaning capacity, a major undertaking to finance and construct by state and federal standards.