Hall County has been given an additional 120 days by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to alter its permit application for the proposed Glades Reservoir project, county officials announced Thursday.
The county is hoping to secure permission to use more gallons per day from the proposed 850-acre lake in Northeast Hall County.
Original estimates were for a water yield of 6.4 million gallons per day from the reservoir, but studies are being conducted that the county hopes will show that a much larger water supply may be available from the project.
Hall County has been working toward a reservoir in North Hall since the early 1990s. The original permit application, filed under Section 404 of the U.S. Clean Water Act, was submitted in February 2007. The Corps of Engineers recently agreed to begin processing the county’s permit application for the Glades Reservoir and issued a Joint Public Notice on July 8 with a public comment period ending on Sept. 6.
The county decided to revamp the application after the July 17 federal court ruling that declared use of Lake Lanier as a water source a violation of the lake’s original intent.
Following the ruling, officials realized they could need more water sooner from the reservoir, which will be built through a public-private partnership between Hall County and the Glades Farm property owners.
Tom Oliver, Hall County Board of Commissioners chairman, said he would like to see yields increased to put the Glades Reservoir more on par with the Bear Creek Reservoir in Jackson County.
“In light of the recent federal court ruling on Lake Lanier water use, we also are looking much more closely at the potential to secure additional yield from the Glades Reservoir,” Oliver said.
The Glades Farm property owners originally wanted the lower yield to keep the reservoir near full pool for aesthetic reasons.
John Vardeman, a spokesman for the Glades property owners, said they are willing to take a different route now that the county’s water needs have changed.
“They’ve said all along what’s good for the Glades is good for Hall County,” Vardeman said. “They are very optimistic about being able to increase the yield.”
Harold Reheis, a consultant for the Glades Reservoir project and the former director of the Georgia Environmental Protection Division, said there are a number of studies that will be conducted during the next 120 days to determine how to safely get more water from the reservoir.
“There are several ways that could be done,” Reheis said. “We’re simply wanting to drop back and investigate those and see how feasible they are.”
One possible method is called pumped storage, in which a reservoir can be supplemented with water pumped from a separate stream.
“Pump storage is an option that has been used successfully on several reservoirs that are operating now or are under construction or have been permitted in Georgia to increase their yield,” Reheis said. “There’s a lot of issues and costs that have to be estimated to try to figure this out as to its feasibility.”
On Wednesday, Oliver submitted a letter to his fellow commissioners and members of the Gainesville City Council seeking to create a joint city-county water authority to oversee the Glades and Cedar Creek reservoirs and pursue a plan for a water treatment plant that could serve both lakes.