What is the Gulf
Region Water and Wastewater Plan?
The Gulf Region Water
and Wastewater Plan (Plan) is an overall plan to identify water,
wastewater, and storm water infrastructure needs in the six Gulf Region
counties of Hancock, Harrison, George, Jackson, Pearl River and Stone. As
directed by Governor Barbour, the Mississippi Department of Environmental
Quality is in charge of developing the Plan. The Plan will identify the
regionís water, wastewater and storm water needs considering existing and
future growth patterns. The infrastructure that is identified from the
Plan should provide for long-term growth, recovery, and prosperity in the
What is the purpose of
purpose of the Gulf Region Water & Wastewater Plan is to identify
infrastructure for long-term growth and recovery in the six Gulf Region
counties of Hancock, Harrison, George, Jackson, Pearl River, and Stone.
appropriated approximately $5.05 billion through HUD/CDBG to the state of
Mississippi to aid in the long-term recovery of the State from Hurricane
Katrina. The Governor has decided to utilize a portion of these monies to
fund water, wastewater, and storm water infrastructure projects. Priority
projects identified in the Plan will be eligible for these funds.
What are some of the
issues that the Gulf Region Water & Wastewater Plan will address?
Since the storm
occurred, the population within the region has shifted significantly. The
Plan will reflect projections on growth patterns that are expected to
occur over the next five, ten and twenty years. These projections will
help to identify areas where infrastructure needs could exist.
The Plan will include
cost estimates for these proposed projects, as well as end-user costs, and
also review alternatives that could lessen impacts to the environment.
After all proposals have been carefully studied, the Plan will prioritize
the needs of the region as a whole. A regional approach can better protect
the infrastructure from storm events, provide a higher level of public
safety, and support economic development that will be beneficial for the
entire area, regardless of political or geographic boundaries.
is in charge of developing the Plan?
Department of Environmental Quality is responsible for developing the Gulf
Region Water and Wastewater Plan as directed by the Governor. Throughout
the planning process, MDEQ is requesting the participation and input from
Utility Board, local officials, and the general public. The success of the
Plan is dependent upon their involvement and consensus.
Department of Environmental Quality has engaged an engineering firm, the
Mississippi Engineering Group, Inc., to assist in the development of the
Gulf Region Water and Wastewater Plan. The Mississippi Engineering Group,
Inc., includes the following professionals to assist with the Plan:
Engineering Group Team
Primary Team Members
Waggoner Engineering, Inc.
Camp Dresser McKee,
Local Team Members
Batson & Brown, Inc.
Brown & Mitchell, Inc.
Digital Engineering & Imaging, Inc.
Dungan Engineering, PA
OíNeal - Bond Engineering, Inc.
Given that the State of Mississippi
will be the Grant Recipient, who will be the Sub-Recipient for CDBG
Disaster Recovery funds?
Since the Plan is to address needs on a regional
basis, the grants will be made to the County Utility Authorities.
Does a County Utility
Authority have to exist prior to a county receiving CDBG Disaster Recovery
grants will be made to the County Utility Authorities.
Can infrastructure projects in any local unit of
government or a not for profit utility be eligible for CDBG Disaster
Yes. The County Utility Authorities were
established by the Mississippi Gulf Coast Region Utility Act and
empowered to provide planning and exercise general supervision over the
design, construction, operation, and maintenance of water, wastewater, and
storm water systems. It is important that local units of governments or
not for profit utilities collaborate with the County Utility Authority in
identifying infrastructure needs.
Who will be responsible
for prioritizing and selecting the projects for CDBG Disaster
Governor has directed the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality
to develop the Plan which will include the prioritization of water,
wastewater, and storm water infrastructure. Priority projects identified
in the Plan will be eligible for these funds. MDEQ will be sensitive to
the County Utility Authorities, Regional Utility Board, local units of
government, and others, including persons of the general public in
identifying and prioritizing these projects.
What is the process for prioritizing the projects
for CDBG Disaster Recovery funds?
prioritization process has not been completed. However the process will
consider such issues as providing infrastructure in under-served areas,
economic development, regionalization, expected demographic changes, and
What constitutes an eligible project activity for
CDBG Disaster Recovery funds?
Priority projects identified in the Plan will be eligible for these
funds. These projects will have to be related either directly or
indirectly to the effects of Hurricane Katrina and provide for economic
growth and long term recovery of the Gulf Region. These funds cannot be
used to duplicate funding eligible under FEMA or the Corps of Engineers.
Will the State grant CDBG Disaster Recovery funds
for projects that are already in process if the projects show some
relation to the consequences of the hurricanes, in whole or in part?
may be reimbursed if the
projects are documented to relate to disaster relief, long-term recovery,
and restoration of infrastructure related to the consequences of Hurricane
Katrina and are priority projects contained in the Plan. Any entity that
proceeds with such projects prior to completion of the Plan and grant
award will be doing so at their own risk.
Will reduction of existing debt due to loss of rate
base caused by the hurricanes be eligible for CDBG Disaster Recovery
No, reduction of debt is not an eligible project activity.
Will facility start-up costs be eligible for CDBG
Disaster Recovery funds?
Some initial start-up costs may be eligible for funding.
How will the county
utility authorities affect existing water, wastewater and storm water
systems that are already in place and working well?
The county utility
authorities will assist in making additions and improvements to operable
systems by recommending priority projects for funding. The authorities
will provide comprehensive overview and support of water, wastewater, and
storm water systems to improve service, efficiency and reliability. The
county utility authorities have broad powers to regulate the design,
construction, operation, maintenance and performance standards of water,
wastewater and storm water systems.
Since this project is so
large, how will it be managed, and how is it different from what we have
had in the past?
The primary difference is that my managing the infrastructure with a
regional approach, consideration can be given to long-term solutions to
problems that affect the entire region. Using this approach, the regionís
infrastructure can better protect the regionís infrastructure from future
storm events, provide a high level of public safety, and support growth
and economic development that will be beneficial for the entire region,
regardless of political and geographic boundaries.
impact does a County Utility Authority
have over new development?
The county utility
authorities have broad powers to regulate the design, construction,
operation, maintenance and performance standards of water, wastewater and
storm water systems. If a development requires the installation of a
system, the system must comply with the county utility authorityís
requirement before construction may begin. State agencies must also
receive certification that a system complies with the county utility
authority requirements before approving or renewing a permit for the
will the County Utility Authorities be funded?
Initially, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agencyís Gulf of Mexico
Program will contribute $50,000 to fund each Authority.
How will the Gulf
Region Water & Wastewater Plan accommodate growth in the area? How will
they know which areas will grow?
One of the purposes of
the Gulf Region Water & Wastewater Plan is to provide a blueprint for
environmentally responsible growth. The Plan will consider alternative
technologies and input from surveys and personal interviews with elected
officials, planners, economic developers, and professionals responsible
for operating and maintaining the water, wastewater and storm water
systems within the six counties and their municipalities.
The Plan will address
growth in each of the six counties in accordance with the recommendations
of the Governorís Commission on Recovery, Rebuilding and Renewal. Recently
completed demographic studies, which included input from local officials,
indicate where the growth in the region is expected to occur.
When will the Plan be
time is October 2006.
Will there be an approval process for the Plan?
The Governor has directed the MDEQ to develop the Plan. The Plan is
being developed in close collaboration with stakeholders including the
County Utility Authorities, Regional Utility Board, local, state and
federal officials, and the general public. The Plan will be included in
the HUD Action Plan that will have to be approved by HUD prior to the
monies being released for the infrastructure projects.
When will construction
begin on the new water, wastewater and storm water systems?
It is expected that the
grants will begin to be made to the County Utility Authorities shortly
after HUD approval of the Action Plan.
How do I get more
information on this project, and how can I provide input and comments on
development of the Plan?
Mr. Steve Spengler is
the project manager for development of the Plan for the Mississippi
Department of Environmental Quality. If you have any questions regarding
the Plan, feel free to contact him at 601-961-5102.
If you have any
questions regarding information requests pertaining to the Plan that you
have received from the contractor, Mississippi Engineering Group, Inc.,
please contact Mr. Jim Hust, project director, at 601-355-3518, or email