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Flowery Branch schedules sewer plan meeting to discuss environmental impact
Neal McDougal, operator trainee at the Flowery Branch water treatment facility, performs routine maintenance rinsing on one of the treatment tanks Tuesday afternoon.

Public hearing

Here are details about Flowery Branch’s hearing on the city’s plans to expand its sewer plant:

  • When: 9:30 a.m. June 17
  • Where: City Hall, 5517 Main St.
  • Contact: 770-967-6371

Flowery Branch plans to hold a public hearing June 17 on the eventual doubling of capacity at its plant off Atlanta Highway.

At the hearing, city officials will present an environmental information document, as required by the state Environmental Protection Division.

"The document itself is an environmental assessment of the surrounding area," including a review of wetlands, flood plains, any water supply resources and other potential obstacles to the city’s plans, said City Manager Bill Andrew.

"It shows that there are no environmentally sensitive issues we need to take special concern with. Nothing was found (showing) that we have to move the sewer line in a different direction or anything like that," Andrew said.

Flowery Branch has acquired an aging plant run by the Cinnamon Cove condominium complex at 6500 Gaines Ferry Road as part of a bigger plan to increase capacity at its sewer plant to 2.05 million gallons per day.

Using revenue from its special purpose local option sales tax, the city plans to spend $1.3 million toward building two sewer lift stations, with one replacing the Cinnamon Cove plant, and a force main line.

"The (fact) that we’re picking up phosphorus and diluting it more is what we think is good about (the project)," Andrew said. "And it’s taking out another outfall into Lake Lanier that has to be monitored by the state."

Two weeks ago, the state transferred the permit to operate the Cinnamon Cove plant to Flowery Branch.

And last week, the city started preliminary work on designing the lift station and force main. "Technically, construction could start in January, if all goes as planned," Andrew said.

He said he doesn’t believe the city will have to buy property for the project.

"We’ll be using state and county right of way and then there’s a couple of landowners hoping to receive sewer capacity from the line who are working with us," Andrew said.

Jackie Joseph, president of Lake Lanier Association, said her group could have a representative at the public hearing. Otherwise, the association is satisfied with the city’s plans.

"We’ve had several meetings with (Andrew) over the last couple of years and ... (the city has) agreed to meet the standards of the Gwinnett (County) permit, which is kind of the bell ringer for us," she said.

After lengthy litigation, in which the association sued over a Gwinnett discharge permit, Gwinnett voluntarily agreed to treat its wastewater to a higher standard.

"We feel confident (Flowery Branch) is abiding by those parameters and guidelines," Joseph said. "... I think (officials) are all attuned because we have had these various meetings."

Andrew has said the city could acquire a permit to expand the plant later this year from the Environmental Protection Division.

The permit is good for five years, he said.