To address rapid growth, Flowery Branch is looking at taking out $25.2 million in 20-year loans to build a new sewer plant and expanding and improving the water system.
The South Hall city is considering applying to the Georgia Environmental Finance Authority for $20.1 million in financing for a new sewer plant — a move that would nearly double sewer capacity. The plant would be on the site of the current plant at 5572 Atlanta Highway.
A decision hasn’t been made on what to do with the current plant.
“We’ve thought about running them parallel for a while, with the old plant sending water to the sprayfield,” City Manager Bill Andrew said, referring to the city’s treated sewer discharge site off Thurmon Tanner Parkway. “But … the more we’ve looked at the costs, it might be more cost effective to not do that and just decommission the sprayfield.”
The new plant would expand the city’s sewer capacity to 1.8 million gallons per day. The current plant is permitted to treat 1 million gallons per day.
“The expansion and upgrade of the plant is necessary because the existing plant is projected to reach capacity within the next three years,” a city report states.
Flowery Branch has about 1,300 sewer customers, with housing projects approved and under construction expected to add at least 900 homes within the next five years “if the economy stays strong,” the report says.
Also, $5.1 million is being sought for water system upgrades, including a new 250,000-gallon water tank and raising the elevation of an existing 150,000 gallon tank by 55 feet.
Growth is a repeated theme.
“Current city water demand is approximately 225,000 gallons per day,” a city report says. “This figure is expected to more than double over the next 10 years, as Flowery Branch undergoes significant development.”
Also, “fire is an increasing concern because housing densities are increasing, resulting in possible multistructure fires.”
Submitting an application to the state agency is set to be discussed at the Flowery Branch City Council meeting at 6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 3. A vote is set for Oct. 17, Andrew said.
The council also is considering setting water and sewer rates effective Oct. 18 and showing up in November bills.
“We’ve been on a program to slowly increase rates to cover (loan debts),” Andrew said.
Because of a flurry of developments, sewer availability has been a hot topic for the council in the past year.
It was a big part of recent discussions over a developer’s proposal to build a 334-unit apartment complex off Hog Mountain Road. The project got unanimous, final approval Thursday, Sept. 19.
The developer said the project could take several years to build, with timing coinciding with the sewer expansion.
Flowery Branch City Council
What: Discussion of financing a new sewer plant and water system upgrades
When: 6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 3
Where: City Hall, 5410 W. Pine St.