Water concern problems revisited: Major changes made

LAUDERDALE COUNTY, Miss (WTOK) - What a difference a few years and a lot of work have made. Four years ago some Newscenter 11 viewers shared with us their concerns about the quality of their water. It was described as "brown, rusty," or just plain "dirty". The affected customers in North Meridian were not only concerned about the water's color, but its safety. It's now four years later and Newscenter 11 has learned that some major changes have been made.

"The clarity of the water has just gotten so much better," says Richie Camp from Briarwood Country Club. He is describing the water at the swimming pool there now, compared to how it was four years ago.

"You know, you don't want to walk into somewhere that has cloudy water or brown water," says Camp. "You want the water as crystal clear as you can get it. We're very happy. Very happy."

Past and present members of the North Lauderdale Water Association say that the discoloration of the water was caused by iron. Although it was discolored, they say the water was regularly tested by state officials, and was safe. However, to combat the discoloration problem the water association board put an action plan in place.

"We've rebuilt all of the plants," says board president Todd Kiefer. "We've addressed issues with all the filters at every plant. And we've installed a lot of updated electronics and computer controls. Each of the plants is running very well now."

As part of continued upgrades, the association is in the process of building its largest water tank in the system. It will be a new half million gallon elevated water tank that will serve the system's longest-served customers.

"This will increase the pressure for about 1,500 people by 30 pounds per home," says NLWA's General Manager, Josh Bennett.

He says that new $1.6 million water tank could be finished by the first quarter of next year.

The North Lauderdale Water Association serves 3,970 households, six schools and Okatibbee Water Park.