The Gainesville City Council and the Hall County Commission have given permission to Rochester and Associates to design sewage lines and a sewage pump station that would serve a future school complex and future developments on the South Hall road.
The project, which initially includes the installation of more than 11,000 linear feet of gravity sewer lines, 5,800 linear feet of force main lines and a pump station that has the capacity to pump between 1 million and 1.5 million gallons of sewage per day, is yet another step toward a sewer system for county residents.
The new lines, which should be operational by next summer, will carry sewage from Spout Springs Road to the county’s recently acquired sewage treatment plant on the same road, said Gainesville Public Utilities engineer Mak Yari.
Rochester and Associates will spend 10 months and about $330,000 designing the sewage facilities on the project that must be completed by July 2009 since it involves sewage for the Hall County School system.
The project, which was originally intended for the residents in the Spout Springs area, was recently expanded to include sewer plans for a new middle and high school complex that is under construction on Spout Springs Road.
The school complex will include a 2,000-seat stadium and is expected to use a maximum of 580,000 gallons of sewage per day.
The Hall County Board of Education has offered to contribute $1 million and any required easements to the project, Yari told the county commission at a March 10 work session.
The rest of the project, currently estimated to be about $3.8 million in construction costs, will be paid for by the Hall County government, and the rest of the sewer capacity — anywhere between half a million and 1 million gallons per day — will be available for Spout Springs Road developments.
Hall County Commissioner Bobby Banks says the county intends to maintain the lines and said the sewer project is a step toward the county’s independence from Gainesville’s sewer program.
"It’s a good move for Hall County to have our own sewer," Banks said.
Banks says the idea of a Hall County sewer program will keep South Hall residents from having their property annexed into Buford city limits in exchange for sewer service. Banks said the Hall County sewer should make it to Friendship Road in the next 10 years.
"It will eventually put the brakes on Buford," Banks said. "When Buford annexes, we lose school taxes, so that’s not good."
Also, if the county had its own governmental sewer program, then it would no longer have to pay extra money to Gainesville’s Public Utilities Department for managing the design and bidding of its sewer projects. Currently, the county must pay the city utility 5 percent of the costs associated with the design and bidding process of sewer projects in the southern area of unincorporated Hall County, according to an intergovernmental agreement called the Mulberry Creek agreement.
"(The agreement) basically says that we will go ahead and design and do the construction administration and operation of wastewater facilities in the Mulberry Creek basin and we will be reimbursed for the cost plus 5 percent," Yari said.
For the Spout Springs Road project in particular, the county will pay $25,400 to the Gainesville utility in management fees.
Banks says these costs are "reasonable."