- Associated Press - Friday, January 22, 2016

HATTIESBURG, Miss. (AP) - The City of Hattiesburg has stopped paying fines to the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality over its wastewater treatment plan.

The Hattiesburg City Council and Mayor Johnny DuPree received a letter from the agency Wednesday, which explains the city will stop paying $1,500 per day for missing a Sept. 1 deadline to submit a wastewater plan, according to local media outlets.

The letter says Hattiesburg owes $18,000 to the department. Council President Kim Bradley said the council has been able to work with the department in the past to mitigate fines, and he is hopeful the same can be done for the $18,000.

“I’m very excited (that this has been resolved),” Bradley said. “We knew that this was going to be the case once the plans were submitted. I regret that it took this long to get the plans to the MDEQ, but a lot of political things going on here in Hattiesburg have put us behind that timeline.”

The letter means the agency has approved the city’s wastewater land application system.

The land application system will cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $115 million to $120 million, Bradley said. During a council meeting in early December, councilmembers voted to declare their intent to borrow funds to help pay for whichever system was chosen by entering into a loan with the Mississippi Development Bank in an amount not to exceed $25 million.

The entire land application system will take between 8,000 and 9,000 acres of land, and Hattiesburg was looking to use 3,000 acres of land in Lamar County as a part of that total.

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