City to conduct water line improvements in Arcadia-Sunset neighborhood


City officials are making good on their promise to implement fixes for the issues of discolored tap water and low water pressure that have plagued Hattiesburg residents the last few years.

During a news conference Thursday at the corner of Eddy and Hicks streets, Mayor Toby Barker announced plans for a $717,310 project that will replace undersized water lines throughout the Sunset-Arcadia Neighborhood area.

“When we talk about fixing Hattiesburg’s brown water problem, we know (several) reasons why residents might experience discolored water in the first place,” Barker said. “You may have bad source water; you could have water lines closed off and unable to flow and circulate properly.

“But the reason’s being resolved today.”

The work will entail the installation of 6-, 8- and 10-inch water lines on sections of Greenbriar Place, Mimosa Lane, Carriage Drive, Estelle Street, Arcadia Street, Marie Street, Johnson Avenue, Parker Avenue, Villa Verde Street and Sunset Drive. Workers also will move services from smaller lines to larger 6- and 8-inch lines that are already in place on Carter Drive and McInnis Street.

Construction in the neighborhood is expected to last well into the summer, and officials hope to have the project completed by July or August.

“This means there will be construction trucks in your neighborhood for the next several months,” Barker said. “Also, this construction will mean that work will go into residents’ yards – in certain areas we are going to try and bore under the large trees and the larger landscaped areas.

“However, some lawns and flowerbeds may be disturbed during this process … and replacing that is also part of this project. So if digging occurs in your yard, it will be put back, but that portion of the project will be at the very end, probably in mid-summer. So we ask your patience on this.”

The money for the project will come from a budgeted expense for funds generated by water bills.

The work in the Arcadia-Sunset neighborhood is part of a bigger plan announced in March 2017, when Hattiesburg City Council members proposed a five- to seven-year plan to replace water lines throughout the city. Officials said many of the lines – some of which were built more than 100 years ago – were 4 inches or less in diameter, which negates adequate flow and allows iron and sediment to be pulled into the water system.

“We’ve got wonderful people working with the city who are helping in so many ways,” Ward 4 Councilwoman Mary Dryden said. “(We) realize the quality of the life that we live here depends on having the services meet the needs of the people, (and that) is just vital, and I’m very grateful for that.

“So I think this time next year, we’ll be celebrating this wonderful project. I ask that people be patient as their street are disturbed, because that’ll be part of it. But this (is a part) of making things better, and they’re going to be a lot better.”