"Used" Water Profitable?

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Effluent water is the product remaining after the solids in city wastewater are removed. It is treated to make it safe, then disposed of into Sowashee Creek.

Mayor John Robert Smith called a special meeting of the City Council to inform them there may be a market for it.

"We have been approached by an industry that would like to build a plant, a power generating plant here and would like to purchase our effluent," said Smith. "Unfortunately state law doesn't allow us as you know to enter into a contract that exceeds our terms of office where we can guarantee a rate for an extended period of time."

The company is the Southern Company, the parent company of Mississippi Power.

The mayor asked the council to pass a resolution requesting the state legislature to authorize the city to enter into a 35-year contract for the sale of this wastewater, which currently amounts to eight million gallons per day.

"What could possibly be wrong with allowing your city to sell something for a profit which we now throw away," the mayor said.

The mayor said he doesn't know what the price would be and conceded a decision to build such a plant is several years away but said without this authority our region could not participate in the bid process to locate the plant here.

"They will continue to go to Georgia and Alabama and other states where the legislature allows their communities this kind of authority," said Smith.

The resolution was approved by the council unanimously.