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Officials: 'Pristine' water coming to Helena, Escatawpa, Big Point with new treatment plant

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HELENA, Mississippi — Work has begun on a $9.2 million water treatment plant that will treat Pascagoula River and ground water for residents of east Jackson County.

The groundbreaking was this past week at the Helena Industrial Park. The plant will be located just northeast of the intersection of Mississippi Highways 63 and 613.

The facility will treat an average of 1 million gallons of water per day. Officials said it can be upgraded later to treat 2 million gallons per day as demand increases.

It will serve the communities of Escatawpa, Helena, Big Point and possibly Wade and Hurley.

The project is funded through a $12 million Environmental Protection Agency grant and will tie into Jackson County Utility Authority distribution lines.

"This is a great culmination to a very, very, very large project," said Brad Bradford, president of the JCUA's board of directors.

Not only will the plant provide quality drinking water for the residents of the area, he said, but it will also benefit economic development at the industrial park.

Jackson County Supervisor Troy Ross said it boosts business confidence by providing the "security to know they don't have to worry about losing supply."

Pete McMaster, project manager with Arcadis design and engineering firm, said the plant will take about a year to build and a month to get online.

"By June 2015, we should be getting pristine water," he said.

The initial phase, completed in 2006, included site work for the plant and some transmission infrastructure. Hurricane Katrina-related Community Development Block Grant money paid for that work.

The construction contract for the plant was awarded to Mandeville, Louisiana-based Max Foote Construction Co. Inc. in December.

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