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Hall County could get OK for new reservoir by end of year
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The county is inching closer to having a new drinking water reservoir, Hall County officials said Thursday.

Permits for the Glade Farm reservoir have been slow in coming, but officials said the county could obtain the permits by the end of the year.

"We’re getting closer to receiving that permit," said Jim Shuler, Hall County administrator. "We’ve been trying to get that permitting for several years."

Hall County purchased 805 acres of the 7,000-acre Glades Woodland Farms property in northeast Hall about seven years ago with the intention of building a reservoir there. But snags in obtaining a water withdrawal permit from the Environmental Protection Division and a transfer permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have delayed construction.

Shuler said the county has established a public-private partnership with Glades Woodland Farms on Glade Farm Road that will ultimately provide the county with a new reservoir. The county owns the 805 acres on which the reservoir will be built, but the farm has agreed to build and operate the reservoir at its own expense until it is transferred to county maintenance at a later date.

"They’re building a $20 million or $30 million reservoir up there and we’ll eventually take it over," Shuler said. "If we were going to build it ourselves, we probably wouldn’t build it," he added.

Shuler said the farm could transfer the Glade Farm reservoir to the county as soon as the year 2020, which would allow the Gainesville utilities department to start doling out the reservoir’s water to customers throughout Hall County.

Bobby Banks, Hall County commissioner, said Glades Woodland Farms can begin constructing the reservoir once the pending water permits are granted.

"It could be a windfall for the city of Gainesville because if we could put approximately another 2 million gallons of water into the lake, that means we’ll have 2 million gallons more of water to withdraw," he said.

Hall County and the city of Gainesville maintain a water partnership and currently have the Cedar Creek reservoir, which is already built, sitting unused in East Hall.

Shuler said the Cedar Creek reservoir was built in anticipation of an increased need for water due to population growth in the county, but for the reservoir to be utilized, a water treatment plant must be built. Shuler said the county has no plans at this time to construct a plant there.

"At that time, (the state) knew the lake was allocated, and they knew there wasn’t going to be enough water to go around," Shuler said. "There may be more of a need (at Cedar Creek) than there’s ever been with the drought conditions and all, but it will take two to three years to build a water plant on the reservoir."

At the board meeting Thursday, county commissioners approved an easement request from Georgia Power Co. for 2.09 acres near Glade Farm Road. The power company paid the county $69,000 for the property.

In addition, the commission approved a 90-day rate and connection fee study for the Mulberry Creek sewage facilities at a total cost of $98,595. They also agreed to pay Dewberry $149,300 to carry out the state-mandated Hall County Floodplain Mapping.