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Residents will get say on sewer facility
Public hearing about Spout Springs project set for tonight
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Sewer hearing

What: Public hearing for Spout Springs Water Reclamation Facility improvements
When: 5-7 p.m. tonight
Where: Bill Williams Conference Room, third floor of the Joint Administration Building, 300 Henry Ward Way, Suite 301, Gainesville
Contact: Ken Rearden, public works and utilities director, at or 770-531-6800.

Hall County residents are invited to give feedback tonight about planned improvements to the Spout Springs Water Reclamation Facility on Spout Springs Road.

Hall County officials say the improvements will prepare South Hall for future growth, improve water quality and, at least in the long run, save taxpayers money.

Still, some residents have already expressed concerns about environmental impacts and a rise in sewage costs - something county officials assure will not be the case.

Tonight's public hearing will be held at the Joint Administration building in Gainesville for county officials to share their plans and field public input.

The meeting will include a short presentation on the proposed project and allow time for residents to ask questions and voice concerns.

This meeting comes at the end of a 30-day public comment period the county must allow before it applies for a state permit to discharge treated wastewater from the facility into Lollis Creek in the Oconee River Basin.

The price tag for the project is $2.75 million to be funded through SPLOST VI, the county's 1 percent special purpose local option sales tax.

To meet with permit requirements and address odor control concerns, new equipment will include a replaced odor control system, aeration system upgrades, an ultraviolet disinfection system, a new chemical feed system and sewer pipes, according to a Hall County press release.

The project includes an 18-inch, 2,000-foot line that would run from the facility to Lollis Creek.

Hall County Public Works has received about a dozen emails with concerns, said Ken Rearden, Hall County Public Works director.

Some have expressed concerns that wastewater would be routed through their community streams with potentially negative environmental impacts.

"This will not harm the environment,"Rearden said.

Rearden said water processed at the facility is cleansed before it's released into fresh water.

"This water that will be discharged will exceed the water quality that's already in the stream," he said.

Others question the cost effectiveness and whether the new project is a duplication of existing infrastructure.

The county's current sewer network in South Hall includes two pump stations and pipes leading to the Gainesville sewer system.

Rearden said those pipes will still be used, but the Spout Springs facility was built to serve a smaller population and now needs an upgrade.