DIAMONDHEAD -- The city's Water and Sewer District will break ground Monday on its new sewage-treatment plant.
The plant will cost about $24.1 million and take 16 to 18 months to build, Mayor Tommy Schaefer said.
Schaefer, who also serves as a DWSD commissioner, said the entire project, including engineering, assessments, lift station repairs and the relocation of existing or installation of new pipelines, is estimated to cost nearly $36 million.
The new treatment plant will be able to process 1.25 million gallons of sewage per day and will serve the entire Water and Sewer District, which includes areas in and around the city limits.
FEMA is funding the entire project because wind and flood waters damaged the District's facilities during 2005's Hurricane Katrina.
The project, which began more than seven years ago, has been mired by controversy and debate among area residents and officials. Last year, the Hancock County Utility Authority asked the DWSD to consider not building the plant.
The DWSD, which is an autonomous public entity, chose to move forward on the project despite the objections of the utility authority, which was reeling from its own financial difficulties.
Schaefer said the DWSD would have taken a financial hit had it stalled on the project.
"We can't keep limping along," he said. "The District has spent millions of dollars. If we don't build it, we'll lose that money."
A portion of the work that included the relocation of some main pipelines has already been done.
The groundbreaking ceremony will be 10 a.m. at 4475 Park Ten Drive.