June 20, 2023
With an eye on the future, Starkville Utilities is preparing to launch comprehensive evaluations of the city’s water and wastewater systems to ensure they continue operating safely, reliably and affordably for many years to come.
“We want to be intentional in our use of ratepayer funds and invest in projects that will make the most impact for our customers and best position us for the road ahead,” said Edward Kemp, general manager of Starkville Utilities. “Our goal is being proactive and operating our systems in the most efficient and cost-effective manner possible to support Starkville’s current and future utility needs.”
Funds to perform the evaluations were provided by a water rate adjustment that went into effect earlier this year to generate revenues for capital improvement needs and assessments.
Starkville Utilities will use evaluation results to identify equipment, facilities and technologies that should be upgraded or replaced as the city develops the next phase of capital projects. Areas to be evaluated include water production and supply, water and wastewater treatment processes, and future capacity needs.
The evaluation also will be used to formulate cost estimates for proposed projects and identify funding sources such as federal infrastructure grant programs to help cover costs.
After reviewing proposals, Starkville Utilities recently awarded contracts to Neel-Schaffer for the water system evaluation and Garver for the wastewater evaluation. The initial phase of the water evaluation will take four to six months to complete while the wastewater portion will take up to 10 months.
A similar evaluation was instrumental in upgrading and modernizing the city’s wastewater treatment plant and transitioning to a more environmentally sustainable dewatering process that creates a usable byproduct from sewage sludge.
“These evaluations are part of an ongoing journey to keep our utility systems in top condition and support Starkville’s growth responsibly and sustainably,” Kemp said. “The results will be used to develop a roadmap for the next 15-20 years to help us prioritize how to best utilize capital improvement dollars moving forward.”
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.