Reservoir wants excess sand from county park
Wednesday, July 30, 2014 1:00 PM
The solution to Madison County's excess dirt problem at Sulphur Springs Park may come from the Pearl River Valley Water Supply District.
PRVWSD Chief Engineer Gregg Burgess traveled to the park in the northeastern part of the county Wednesday to test the dirt composition to see if the "sugar sand," a term used by several county officials to describe the excess dirt, could be used at the Ross Barnett Reservoir.
Burgess said they have beach areas along the Ross Barnett Reservoir they've been building up and if the material is suitable they would transport the bulk, if not all the excess dirt, to their sites.
Mike Espy, attorney for the Madison County Board of Supervisors, said he received a call from PRVWSD last Thursday after an article appeared in the Journal detailing the surplus.
"Pearl River Valley saw the article and believed they had a home for all of it, if not most of it," Espy said. "They want to spread it on the shoreline of the reservoir."
Espy said since PRVWSD is a government entity, the county could donate the dirt with no problems.
Last week, supervisors voted 4-1 to declare 400,000-500,000 cubic yards of dirt surplus and distribute it to nearby landowners. The landowners would be paid a storage fee in dirt.
District 3 Supervisor Gerald Steen voted no because he thought the dirt was worth something.
Espy said because the park was created under an urban renewal district there is a lot of flexibility under the law for what they could do to get rid of the dirt. While he said dumping it on adjacent land for a storage fee was legal, giving it to PRVWSD eliminates any potential headaches.
The excess sand is the result of digging out an 18-acre lake as part of the 60-acre park project. The project began in 2013 with the creation of an urban renewal district and issuance of $1.5 in urban renewal bonds. Another $770,000 from a road bond package was added to the budget.
Records show more than $1 million of the original $1.5 million bond has already been spent, including a $540,000 payment to County Engineer Rudy Warnock and a $262,000 payment to project contractor Goodloe Construction.