Hall County soon could be the proud new owner of a sewage plant.
After struggling for years to establish sewer service in the southern end of the county, the board of commissioners signed an option to buy the Spout Springs Water Reclamation Plant in September.
The plant, owned by developer John Wieland, would provide hundreds of thousands of gallons of treatment capacity each day for homes and businesses.
On Monday, commissioners again discussed buying the $13.8 million facility, which would be repaid by customers through tap-on and service fees.
The option is expected to close in mid-December.
"I think it’s a good idea," Commissioner Billy Powell said. "It’s a long time coming."
Commission Chairman Tom Oliver said it’s time that Hall County moves forward with such a large purchase.
"We’ve got to control our own destiny and this is just part of it," he said.
During a commission work session Monday afternoon, attorney Tread Syfan recommended that the county exercise the option to buy the plant, issuinig bonds to pay for it.
Syfan said the bonds would mature in April 2022. They could be prepaid anytime, but there would be no scheduled principal payment.
"What is anticipated is that as the county collects tap fees from sale of taps for sewer service users at the plant, those moneys would be accumulated and then ... they would be used to pay the principal of the debt off," he said.
The sewer plant serves South Hall’s Reunion and Sterling on the Lake subdivisions, as well as the Village at Deaton Creek.
Commissioners have said after purchasing the site, they would likely apply to the Georgia Environmental Protection Division to upgrade the plant from its current capacity of 750,000 gallons per day to 1.6 million gallons per day.
The purchase would complement the county’s new trunk line that comes down Winder Highway from Gainesville’s Flat Creek treatment plant, which would service the entire area.
"If we got excess flow we could shoot it into our trunk line and bring it all the way back to Gainesville," Oliver said.
With a drought that doesn’t seem to be letting up any time soon, Oliver said the purchase of the plant, along with the new trunk line, will change the complexion of the county in the way development is done.
"This will allow us to control the destiny of the water," he said. "Truly this is the secret of the future."