Hall County is about a month away from an eco-friendly source of revenue.
Public Works Director Ken Rearden said a new system that is almost complete will allow the county to sell reuse water for irrigation.
The county spent about $85,000 for a chlorination system at the Spout Springs Water Reclamation Facility that will put a small amount of chlorine into the water, allowing it to be used safely for irrigation.
Rearden said the county will sell the water at a rate of 85 cents per 1,000 gallons. The facility will produce about 140,000 gallons a day, meaning the county could see approximately $3,500 a month in additional revenue.
Sterling on the Lake, the Spout Springs Library and the new schools on Spout Springs Road already are committed to buying recycled water from the county.
"We had to put in a new chlorination facility and some piping, meters and so on and so forth," Rearden said. "We are hoping to have that on line within the next 30 days."
Chlorine is necessary to disinfect the water, and Rearden said the chlorine will not pose any danger to the landscaping.
Rearden said tap water, which is being used for landscaping, has more chlorine than what will be put into the reuse water.
"(Tap water) ranges from three to five parts per million," Rearden said. "I think we are required to have at least one part per million in (reuse water)."
The waste water is being put out on a spray field to keep it out of streams and lakes.
"The effluent that is currently being put onto a spray field ... is going to be picked up from the effluent pump station and go through this chlorination system and into the reuse pipes instead," Rearden said. "So we’re basically intercepting it from where it goes to the spray field."
Rearden said treating water for reuse not only will be practical but beneficial to the community and the environment.
"That was the intent all along. Try to get rid of this water as a beneficial purpose instead of spraying it onto a 300-acre field that we have to maintain and mow all the time," Rearden said.
Rearden said many in South Hall already are excited about the prospect of lowering their water bills.
"They’re calling and asking about every other week," Rearden said.
Chris Fetterman, a Flowery Branch councilman and a member of the Sterling on the Lake finance committee, said using Hall County’s recycled water for irrigation will be significantly less expensive than using Gainesville’s water. The homeowner’s association is paying between $3 and $4 per 100 cubic feet to Gainesville.
"It’s going to save the homeowner’s association lots of money because we use a lot of water right now," Fetterman said.
Fetterman said he thinks reuse water also will help ease the water shortage in North Georgia.
"It’s going to be better for everybody to use reused water," Fetterman said. "Hopefully that will take less water out of Lake Lanier,"
Rearden said he thinks other Georgia counties could benefit from facilities like Hall County’s.
"It’s fairly new here in Georgia. It’s very common in Florida. But I think it will catch on here in Georgia because of the drought we’ve been having."