Hall County officials hope a retired sewer spray field in South Hall County will produce some cash for the county.
The Hall Board of Commissioners has given its OK to try to attract buyers for nearly 88 acres now part of the 304-acre Spout Springs Water Reclamation Facility on Spout Springs Road.
County officials stopped using the property about three years ago as a spray field after Hall was permitted by the state to discharge into nearby Lollis Creek, which is part of the Upper Oconee basin that directs water to the Atlantic Ocean.
“It’s cleaner than any pasture that a farmer would sell,” said Ken Rearden, Hall’s public works and utilities director, adding that Hall doesn’t have any environmental hoops to jump through to sell the land.
Sitting amid gently rolling hills, the tree-lined property can be reached by an unpaved road the county built just west of the plant. Nearly 12 acres of the site is in flood plains.
Sterling on the Lake, a 1,000-acre subdivision off Spout Springs in Flowery Branch, sits north of the property.
The 88-acre site will go out for public bids, possibly within the next couple of weeks, purchasing manager Tim Sims said.
Unlike most projects where the county seeks the lowest bidder, this is a case of awarding the highest bidder, he noted.
Once the property is advertised, the public will have at least 30 days “to view the property and make their best offer to the county,” Sims said.
If bidders submit offers below the property’s appraised value, “we would reject the bids and put it back out for bid,” he said.
Or a public auction could be held, with bids accepted or rejected, Sims said.
Proceeds would go to the county’s sewer fund.
South Hall Commissioner Kathy Cooper, who raised the issue to fellow board members, said, “We have infrastructure down there in our sewer that we need to start upgrading.”
The Spout Springs plant is a key part of Hall County’s overall sewer operations.
The county has built pump stations and pipes that ultimately will also take sewer from Reunion subdivision and an area surrounding Ga. 211 and Ga. 53 to the Flat Creek plant in Gainesville.
That move is expected to free up capacity in the Spout Springs plant to serve the Ga. 347/Friendship Road area.
“We’re in a good place, where if things develop and we don’t want to expand our (Spout Springs) plant, we can pump to Gainesville,” Rearden said in an earlier interview.