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Hall County commissioners to hear sewer presentations
Gainesville plan stays under wraps
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The Hall County Board of Commissioners will hear three sewer service presentations today at its work session.

Options to provide sewer to the Gateway Industrial Centre were presented to the previous commission in November by Ken Rearden, Hall County public utilities director, but board members have changed and the county wants to see if there’s a way to get it connected faster.

Hall County agreed to provide sewer service to the 518-acre industrial park within 36 months after Georgia Poultry Laboratory closed on its property there in October. Commissioners voted Nov. 29 to build a 3,500-foot gravity sewer and 75,000-gallons-per-day treatment plant to serve the site at an expected cost of $3.2 million after looking at infrastructure options from Lula and the city of Gainesville.

However, interest in the site from companies looking at possibly locating at the site sooner has unsettled the matter. Commissioners, including new board Chairman Richard Mecum and Commissioner Jeff Stowe, can choose again whether to use services from Lula, the city of Gainesville or build the county’s own water treatment facility.

“Lula provides a value,” said City Manager Dennis Bergin. “We serve a very broad stretch of (the Ga. 365 corridor).”

Bergin said county commissioners didn’t fully hear what Lula had to offer, but said he will show a couple of options for the county.

Hall County has already bought 100,000 gallons of wastewater capacity, with the ability to purchase 50,000 more, according to slides dated Nov. 27 from Rearden’s presentation on the county’s three options.

The construction cost was estimated then at $2.6 million, but Lula’s presentation will likely have new information, including details about pipeline extensions.

County officials have said if they choose to connect the property to a Lula sewer plant where the county owns capacity, they would have to build about 25,000 feet of sewer lines to the property. Bergin said the city’s been preparing its presentation in the past three weeks.

“They can buy wholesale or continue to partner,” Bergin said.

County Administrator Randy Knighton said Hall County’s presentation will be virtually the same. Rearden said he’s added a couple of pictures of the facility the county would build. The county would begin with a package facility, a kind of prefabricated structure, and build out as necessary.

The city of Gainesville declined to give any information about its presentation. Catiel Felts, communications and tourism director, said the county’s elected officials should hear the presentation before the public does.

“We believe the board of commissioners deserve to hear the information first,” she said.

The city of Gainesville offered 1 million gallons of peak daily flow, or 392,000 gallons of average daily flows, according to Rearden’s November presentation. The county would have provided 15,500 feet for force main pipeline to tie in at White Sulphur Road. It would have cost slightly more than $5 million, which would have been paid for with user debt service fees. Gainesville’s offer included a promise not to annex into the county’s sewer district.

The Gainesville City Council awarded a $2 million construction contract in December to install a gravity line to relieve sewer flow from station 23, the facility that would have supplied Gateway if the commissioners had voted that way last year.

The station currently serves Gainesville Industrial Park North, home to Kubota Manufacturing of America Corp. But city public utilities officials say any more development in the area could be more than the station can handle. When planning the project, city officials reached out to the county for a possible partnership, an earlier Times story said.

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