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South Hall residents discuss water treatment issues
Project would upgrade odor control system
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South Hall residents aired their concerns about the past and future of water treatment in their community at a Hall County public hearing Thursday night.

The hearing was to discuss planned improvements to the Spout Springs Water Reclamation Facility on Spout Springs Road.

There were three main concerns from members of the public who spoke at the meeting: the cost of sewage, the cleanliness of the water that will be discharged from the treated facility into Lollis Creek and the foul smell that sometimes comes from the facility.

Residents who live near the facility complained that they pay a steep $42 flat sewer fee and were concerned the new facility could only increase the costs.

Ken Rearden, the Hall County Public Works director who also led the hearing, said the $2.75 million project would be paid through the county's special purpose local option sales tax.

"I can assure you this project won't change (the rate) at all," Rearden told residents.

Several questions from Hall county resident John Mercer revolved around measures taken to ensure filthy water wouldn't come from the facility into Lollis Creek and harm the environment.

On Wednesday, Rearden told The Times that discharged water would "exceed the water quality that's already in the stream."

At Thursday's hearing, the public works director said low quality would automatically be sent to a retainer pond in the event of facility malfunction, which could hold up to 30 days worth of unfit water.

"Can we be assured the water quality will always meet these standards?" Mercer asked.

Rearden replied that state standards set current quality levels, adding that standards tend to only trend upward.

Donna Martin, who lives across the street from the Spout Springs facility, was looking for improvements in the smell that sometimes from the existing facility.

The planned project will include an upgrade in the facility's odor control system.

One of the county's project consultants at the meeting said the odor system is designed to eliminate "99 percent of the smell."

When asked if information satisfied her concerns, Martin said, "They were answered as much as they could be."

Before the original treatment facility was built, Martin said, she was also assured of odor control — only for the smell to become a constant annoyance.

She said satisfaction will only come now when the latest promise come true.

The hearing, which came at the end of a 30-day public comment period, was required before the county could apply for a state permit to discharge treated wastewater from the facility into Lollis Creek. There were about 30 people, including residents and public officials, who came to the hearing.

The project allows the county to stop using sprayfields to discharge water, a labor-intensive task.

To meet with permit requirements and address odor control concerns, new equipment will include the odor control system, aeration system upgrades, an ultraviolet disinfection system, a new chemical feed system and sewer pipes.

Rearden said the project would meet requirements set by the Metropolitan North Georgia Water District.