MCLAIN, Miss. (WKRG) – State funds will be used to help secure McLain’s lagoon from persistent trespassers, like fishermen and alligators.

The sewage lagoon is a large pond which collects the town’s wastewater. The sewage is broken down by bacteria in the lagoon. McLain is one of 53 municipalities in Mississippi — mostly small, rural communities — to use a lagoon to treat its wastewater.

“It operates self-sufficiently. It doesn’t require any additional water, any electricity. This puts everything in a way that nature treats the sanitary sewage and then releases it,” said project engineer Pete Williams.

The rehabilitation will also include fixing some of the water collection lines throughout the town that have worn down with age. When completed, less rain and groundwater will get into the deteriorating lines and collection system, requiring less aeration for the lagoon to break down the sewage.

At the lagoon, trees will be removed that are interfering with the earthen dam and fencing will be put up around the area to keep people and animals out.

“We’ve had to eradicate some pretty large alligators out of it. Part of the work will actually include replacing baffles they have broken and replace some dirt work alligator slides have caused,” Williams said.

The town’s police have also chased out at least six people from fishing in the lagoon in recent months, according to Mayor Steve McClusky. Fencing will also keep them out.

A Community Development Block Grant from the Mississippi Development Authority for $549,849 is funding the project. Without it, the town’s population of about 313 would not be able to afford the repairs on its own.

“It’s a huge help, we’re very grateful to the state for looking out for towns like us. Getting this done now will actually save everyone money with more repairs down the road if we let it get in worse shape. I’m proud to get the rehab going,” McCluskey said.

Engineers are in the process of drawing the blueprints to lay out the fine details of the rehabilitation. The town hopes to solicit bids for a contractor to start laying the groundwork on the project later this summer.