Ground Broken for Water Treatment Plant

Even though it has been four years since Hurricane Katrina, money is coming to east Mississippi to help with ongoing recovery.

Two million dollars is being awarded to the town of Union through the Mississippi Development Authority to build a new water treatment plant. The old one sustained damage from Katrina.

"$2 million is a lot of money for this type grant in a town this small, but it's very justifiable, very much so worthwhile, and the people of this community will benefit," said Sen. Terry Burton.

The current water treatment plant was built in 1967. It received extensive damage during the 2005 storm, especially to its roof. The new plant will not only be more structurally sound but will also be able to treat more water.

"Our new water treatment plant will process a half million more gallons of water every 24 hours and I think it will help us to attract industry," said Mayor Wayne Welch of Union.

One of the industries that could benefit is Durasip, located at the Union Park. The company is currently waiting on more funding. When fully operational, the mayor says Durasip, which will manufacture homes primarily for third world countries, is expected to employ from 70 to 100 people.

Many communities in Mississippi are benefiting from recovery funds. After Hurricane Katrina, Congress approved $5.4 billion dollars for recovery in the state.

So far, more than half of that has been used and most of the rest has been allocated.

"Our whole goal is to get projects done as quickly as possible, but there's really no way to put an end date on that because we have some projects like the Port of Gulfport, that restoration there that could go on for a decade," said Lee Youngblood of Mississippi Development Authority.

As for the new water treatment plant in Union, it is expected to be finished around May of 2010.

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