Aldermen authorized a request Tuesday by Starkville Utilities to buy a 10-acre parcel of land south of the Starkville Wastewater Plant on Sand Road.
Starkville Utilities General Manager Terry Kemp said the price was determined after an outside appraiser surveyed the land and found the land itself to be worth about $20,000 and the timber on the land to be worth roughly the same amount.
There are no current plans for the land, Kemp said, but it was purchased with the future expansion and operation of the wastewater plant in mind. Kemp said seeing land on the market so close to the facility presented an opportunity to plan for years to come.
"If you look down the road, we think this land will be valuable for the facility," Kemp said. "Where it's located fits in real well with our operation," Kemp said.
Kemp said some potential uses for the area included storage as well as a place for potential land reclamation projects, though he stressed any specific plans for the land in the future would have to be taken before the Board of Aldermen.
Currently, the 10 acres give the city breathing room to plan.
"It gives us a buffer area for the site," Kemp said.
Kemp said the land could also be used as a staging area for drying sludge in the future. Starkville Utilities was given $10 million in bonds earlier this year by Aldermen to implement equipment at the wastewater plant to begin utilizing a process to recycle sludge from the plant's lagoon.
The process would require the sludge to dry out, Kemp said. Afterwards, the sludge is turned into something like dirt, which can be used to grow plants.
While the wastewater plant is not yet utilizing this process, it is expected to begin doing so next year. Kemp said having a place to potentially house the sludge while it’s drying would be vital and suggested the 10 acres south of the plant might be used for such a purpose in the future.
Before the land is used for anything, Kemp said, the timber must be cleared off of it. He said bids to harvest the trees would hopefully be presented to the Board of Aldermen at its next meeting on Dec. 3.
Funds to buy the land, Kemp said, came from the Starkville Utilities operations budget rather than the city's general fund. Kemp said the current plan was to clear and sell the timber on the land to recoup some of the costs.
The Starkville Wastewater Plant serves the sewage needs of Starkville and the surrounding region, including areas with sewage going to Mississippi State University.