By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Latest on sewer deal with Gainesville and Flowery Branch
City of Gainesville Administrative Building1.jpg

The City of Gainesville has agreed to treat several hundred thousand gallons of Flowery Branch’s wastewater a day until 2028.

The deal, approved by unanimous vote Tuesday, aims to relieve Flowery Branch’s strained wastewater treatment system, which has been nearing capacity amid continual residential growth since August.

Gainesville City Manager Bryan Lackey said the 5-year agreement will see Flowery Branch run a sewer line from an existing pump station to a connection point near Gainesville’s Flat Creek plant and the treatment of 400,000 gallons of wastewater a day.

Flowery Branch will be responsible for funding the project and paying for the service, according to Lackey, at no cost to the City of Gainesville.

“In fact, Flowery Branch will be paying us to do that (at) 150% of the rate they charge their customers – all the customers through there are either Flowery Branch sewer customers or Oakwood sewer customers…so Flowery Branch bills those customers, then our fee we get will be 150% of that fee they collect,” Lackey said, adding that it’s not yet clear how much revenue the agreement could generate over the next five years as Flowery Branch looks to find a more permanent remedy to its sewer system.

Lackey maintained the additional wastewater won’t hinder Gainesville’s treatment processes. He said all revenue generated through the agreement will be allocated to the city’s enterprise fund, often reserved by governments for future funding of water and sewer infrastructure.

“It’s all short-term,” Lackey said. “...Flat Creek is a 12 million gallon plant, so we’ve got a good bit of capacity there. We felt for the next five years we certainly could offer that to Flowery Branch.”

The agreement came after the Georgia Environmental Protection Division suggested the two cities work to find a temporary solution for Flowery Branch’s limited sewer capacity, according to Lackey, who called the deal beneficial to both municipalities. 

“We’ve determined it was something that wouldn’t impact our ability to grow or serve our customers,” he said. “We felt we could do this temporarily to help them out, until they figure out what they’re going to do long term.”

Gainesville Mayor Sam Couvillon told The Times the city is willing to support Flowery Branch through the current agreement.

“We’re just there trying to be a good neighbor and trying to help them out,” he said.