City of Hattiesburg plans to fix brown water issue

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HATTIESBURG,Miss. (WHLT) — Hattiesburg’s Engineering Department proposed a solution for its brown water issue during a city council meeting.

Lamar Rutland, Director of Engineering for the City of Hattiesburg, says they plan to reduce the amount of iron in the water which is causing the discoloration.

“The smaller the pipes, the faster the water travels through them and it’s pulling the sediment off of the sides of the water lines and bringing it into the households,,” Rutland explains. “We plan to up-size the pipelines from four to eight inches. It will greatly reduce the velocity of water in those lines and you shouldn’t get as much sediment.”

Along with making the lines bigger, Rutland and his engineering team plan to upgrade some of the water plants to reduce the amount of iron in the water, causing it to turn brown.

“Everything we’ve seen that is brown water is mostly related to iron. People don’t like it but it is safe to drink,” he says.

The project could take up to five years or longer to complete. It could cost the city anywhere between 10 to 15 million dollars.

“The immediate projects are just replacing your smaller lines. We’re doing the camp street project we’re replacing sewer and we’re going to be replacing the water in that area. After camp it’s going to be working on the avenues on the north side of hardy. That’s probably a couple years out. We’re just starting the design of that project,” he said while explaining the list of projects the team will tackle throughout the city.

The city plans to begin construction on water pipes and sewers by mid to late Summer, no later than early Fall of 2017.

“I think it’s an issue we’ve always known about and wanted to address this just helps bring it to the forefront.”

The city started to receive a heavy flow of complaints about the color of the water in September and October. Rutland says this was during and after Hattiesburg Fire Department started to flush the fire hydrants and the engineering department was making repairs to one of the water plants.

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