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Gainesville seeks design for Cedar Creek Reservoir treatment plant
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Gainesville’s director of public utilities plans to ask the city council today to choose an engineer to design a water treatment plant at Cedar Creek Reservoir.

The reservoir, located in East Hall, is the county’s only immediate backup supply of drinking water if a 2009 ruling limits withdrawals from Lake Lanier. But it lacks the facilities needed to withdraw, treat and pump its water to customers.

At this morning’s work session, officials with the Public Utilities Department will recommend one of four engineers to design the future treatment plant.

Kelly Randall, the department’s director, said Wednesday that the recommendation will be for a construction manager at-risk, or a manager responsible for the design and the construction of the facility “since time is of the essence.”

Such a manager would speed up the construction process on the treatment plant, allowing the city council to authorize construction before all the plant’s design is complete, Randall said. He hopes to have it complete by July 2012.

City officials took a similar approach with the city’s new public safety facility, which is under construction on Queen City Parkway.

If the city council approves the Public Utilities Department’s recommendation at its meeting next week, design could begin by the middle of this month, Randall said.

Any engineer chosen for the project would be charged with designing a plant that could withdraw, treat and pump nearly 12 million gallons of water from the reservoir each day.

Currently, the city does not have a permit to withdraw the water, though it has a pending application with the state’s Environmental Protection Division for 9.5 million gallons each day.

Hall County officials, who built the reservoir and later deeded it to the city, hold a permit allowing them to withdraw 2 million gallons of the reservoir’s water each day.