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Delay of Glades Reservoir report proving costly to Hall County

POSTED: July 7, 2014 7:39 p.m.

The latest delay of a draft environmental impact statement for the proposed Glades Reservoir will likely cost Hall County hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The Board of Commissioners will vote Thursday on additional funding needed to complete the DEIS.

Public Works Director Ken Rearden said he expects the DEIS to be finished this fall after being pushed back last month.

He added a final EIS and a decision from the Army Corps of Engineers on whether to issue a permit for the project will likely happen next summer.

In the meantime, commissioners said they are prepared to approve extending a consulting agreement with Joe Tanner & Associates for an additional year in the amount of $130,000.

Commissioners also said they are ready to approve $650,000 in payments to AECOM, the firm contracted by the Army Corps of Engineers to complete the DEIS.

Funding for both these costs will come from SPLOST VI revenue.

The DEIS will “assess the potential social, economic and environmental impacts of the construction and operation of the reservoir ...”

Officials said additional time is needed to complete hydrology models evaluating the impact of the reservoir on Lake Lanier and other local waterways.

Cooperating agencies, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Environmental Protection Division, are also still reviewing proposed water withdrawals from the Chattahoochee River.

Commissioner Scott Gibbs said the delay was simply a matter of the Corps of Engineers “covering all its bases.”

Commissioner Billy Powell agreed. He said the delay did not raise any red flags, but rather showed federal agencies were completing their due diligence for such a controversial project.

Supporters of the proposed 850-acre Glades Reservoir in the Upper Chattahoochee River Basin say it will add about 40 million gallons per day to the water supply of Northeast Georgia at an estimated $130 million cost to Hall County.


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