- Associated Press - Thursday, October 9, 2014

HATTIESBURG, Miss. (AP) - A judge has ordered the city of Hattiesburg and Groundworx LLC to mediation in their dispute over a wastewater dispersal system that the two had contracted to build.

The contract was signed in January but had languished in limbo for the past seven months over the system’s $141 million price tag and the steep sewer rate hikes required to fund it.

Mayor Johnny DuPree vetoed in February a sewer rate hike that would have helped pay for the system.

Forrest County Chancery Judge M. Ronald Doleac issued the order Wednesday.

The Hattiesburg American reports (https://hatne.ws/1CXJtPK ) DuPree and attorneys for the city declined to comment on the order.

Andy Taggart, Groundworx’s lead attorney, said, “The parties being ordered to mediation, I think, is a very positive step.”

In January, the city contracted with Groundworx to design, construct and operate a land-application system that would spray the city’s treated wastewater over hundreds of acres.

After DuPree vetoed the proposed rate increase and nothing happened for months after, Groundworx sued the city in June for breach of contract.

The system was to stop the discharge of wastewater into the Leaf River. The partially treated wastewater would be piped and sprayed over about 10,000 acres of land in Forrest and Lamar counties.

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Information from: The Hattiesburg American, https://www.hattiesburgamerican.com


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