City Leaders Review Water System Evaluation Results

Study provides basis for 20-year capital improvement plan

Roadmaps are essential in helping travelers find their destination, and they’re just as vital for Starkville Utilities in ensuring that customers have access to safe, affordable, reliable utility services well into the future.

After an in-depth evaluation of Starkville’s water system, Starkville Utilities now has a plan in hand that addresses capital improvement needs through 2043 and beyond.

“The evaluation demonstrates our proactive approach to capital planning and making the right investments today to support long-term system health,” said Edward Kemp, Starkville Utilities general manager. “We now have a better understanding of Starkville’s water system capacity, facilities and treatment processes along with a detailed project schedule for the next 20 years to support a growing community.”

Neel-Schaffer launched the evaluation nearly a year ago and presented results to the mayor and board of aldermen at their May 31 work session.

The report lays out a plan for $47.6 million in capital upgrades over the next 20 years, with the funding schedule based on immediate, short-term and future system needs.

The report found that Starkville’s water system is currently running at 70.7% of design capacity, which leaves a sufficient margin to continue serving customer demand. Over the next five years, the report identified $10.3 million in capital upgrade projects to address performance issues and enhance capacity, including an additional well for the city and new water treatment filters.

The study was based on information gathered by site visits, document reviews, employee interviews, and data from the utility’s Geographic Information System and Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition archives.

In addition, evaluators performed a background and regulatory compliance review of water system components. As a public water system operator, Starkville Utilities is regulated by the Mississippi State Department of Health’s Bureau of Water Supply and must follow provisions of the Mississippi Safe Drinking Water Act of 1997.

Because an area’s population is factored into water system design criteria, the report included current and future population statistics. By 2043, Starkville is expected to grow by 24% (to 30,227), while Oktibbeha County will grow by 19% (to 61,606).

Moving forward, Starkville Utilities will use evaluation results to update the city’s 20-year capital improvement plan and ensure that projects effectively address short- and long-term system needs.

City leaders also reviewed a wastewater system evaluation presented by Garver in March that includes several suggested improvements for Starkville’s wastewater treatment plant.

“These evaluations provide the insights and information we need to stay ahead of growth while complying with regulatory standards,” Kemp said. “By operating our water and wastewater systems responsibly and investing capital dollars strategically, our customers will reap the benefits for generations to come.”

Starkville Utilities is a public utility serving 14,000 residences, businesses and industries in Starkville, Mississippi as well as Mississippi State University. Its mission is to supply safe, reliable, and cost-effective electric and water service of superior quality and value that improves the lives of its customers.

We are a Water and Electric Utilities Company in Starkville