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Hoschton to fund wastewater plant repairs
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The wastewater treatment plant in Hoschton will soon get some much-needed repairs.

The Hoschton City Council recently voted to designate funds for the repairs and awarded a contract to make repairs to the plant’s supervisory control and data acquisition system.

Repairs are slated to cost $28,789 and likely will be completed within three to six weeks, said Mark Dudziak, wastewater operations manager with the Jackson County Water and Sewerage Authority.

SCADA equipment is used to monitor water levels and warn the plant’s operator when problems arise. When the system stops working, it has to be manually operated.

The system has failed a reported four times since last November, the most recent being late last month. Dudziak said the city has had problems with the system dating back to 2006.

“It becomes a manpower issue if you have to have someone running it all the time,” Dudziak said.

City officials have discussed for some time the need to repair the system, with the former city council even applying for federal aid through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

In June 2009, the council approved a resolution that accepted federal funding for the project, but nothing further was done, Mayor Erma Denney said.

“It was planned and approved by (Georgia Environmental Facilities Authority), but the city did not follow through for unknown reasons,” she said.

The current council also has discussed fixing the system, but suffered a setback in March when the Georgia Environmental Protection Division froze GEFA funding intended to be used for the project.

The EPD released the funds last month following the completion of a project to reseed and stabilize the city’s oxidation pond, Denney said.

The SCADA project will be paid for using part of $158,000 that remains in a $3 million loan Hoschton has with Georgia Environmental Facilities Authority. The city also has designated this funding to be used for a pond stabilization project and to replace two failed return activated sludge pumps at the plant.

Overall, the cost to repair the SCADA system is much less than what city officials first projected.

Hoschton’s former engineer estimated last November the project could cost as much as $150,000. In January, the water and sewerage authority lowered that estimate to $45,000.

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