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New landfill system for county weighs on commissioners
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Hall County Board of Commissioners meeting

What: Government meeting

When: 4 p.m. Wednesday

Where: Hall County Government Center, 2nd Floor, 2875 Browns Bridge Road, Gainesville

More info: 770-535-8288

The recent rain has benefited Lake Lanier, but all that water has created quite an expense for Hall County when it hits the landfill.

The Hall County landfill treatment plant, which treats water that touches contaminated landfill waste, is broken and the Board of Commissioners is likely to vote at its meeting on Wednesday to try to refinance its current loan for a new system. Ken Rearden, Public Works and Utilities director, broke the news that he needs about $1.1 million for a new system at the commission work session Monday.

“We’re basically paying for a car that doesn’t work,” Commissioner Craig Lutz said.

Rearden said there is infrastructure that does work, but the processor is broken and it’s so old that he can’t buy replacement parts.

It’s a reverse osmosis system, which uses diffusion to purify the water through filtration.

The county is currently hauling contaminated water to Banks County for treatment. The treated water is then sprayed back on the landfill for dust control and air quality.

“The active (landfill) cells are contaminated, so you have to capture that water and treat it before it goes back on the landfill,” Rearden said.

There’s a temporary plant set up in Banks County to treat about 8,000 gallons per day, but the county needs a plant that will treat 20,000 gallons a day. The county is paying 8 cents a gallon at the temporary plant.

Commissioner Billy Powell said it’s costing the county about $20,000 a month, not including the hauling expense.

The county took out a $2.1 million Georgia Environmental Finance Authority loan for the treatment plant about 13 years ago and the loan term runs until 2020. It’s being paid through the landfill enterprise fund. Hall County owes about $1.08 million on the loan.

The refinancing attempt would be for about $2.2 million and it would be for another 15- to 20-year term.

Commissioner Scott Gibbs said he would be against a term longer than 12 years. The current loan interest rate is about 4.92 percent, but the county would try to refinance at a rate of 2.4 percent. GEFA officials said they’ve not done this before, but they’ll consider it.

In other business, commissioners are likely to approve $918,512 in additional services that are needed to complete the draft environmental impact study for the Glades Reservoir project at its Wednesday board meeting. Commissioners approved an agreement with project management firm AECOM to do the study in 2011 for slightly more than $1.5 million. The March letter from the company to Rearden said that because of the project’s complexity and controversy, the Army Corps of Engineers needs additional work, including engineering, hydrological and water quality modeling, field surveys and environmental studies, to make a decision on the permit.

Hall County plans to provide 72.5 million gallons of drinking water per day to residents in Northeast Georgia by building the Glades Farm Reservoir on 850 acres in northwest Hall.

Also on the agenda for Wednesday’s meeting is the renewal of a contract with Joe Tanner and Associates, the consulting firm helping with the Glades project.

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