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5-4-05 Sewer Capacity, Cost and Effort, and Oconee County Plans

Athens Banner-Herald, 4-10-05: Given a choice, most developers would rather build in an area that is already on a sewer line than build their own, said Commission Chairman Melvin Davis. So, a sewer line installed by one developer may entice new developers to build in that same area, keeping development in compact nodes, he said.



April 23, 2005


Sewer Capacity, Cost and Effort, and Oconee County Plans


By Wendell Dawson, Editor, AVOC, Inc.


As one who spent years and much effort in helping Watkinsville and Oconee County get some sewer capacity in the 80’s and 90’s, I do not feel reassured about Oconee’s sewer plans and rapid residential growth.   One can call it “Missouri MuleHeadness” or whatever, (and some critics have questioned my motives) but I worked with and on the subject too long- at least 15 years- and know the costs and challenges.


Developers paying for connections may pay for sewer expansion but will not build more schools, pay for more water needs, wider and stronger roads and other facilities.  Permits from the State are not automatic either.  Watershed plans, Stormwater plans, water sources etc are some of the issues to be faced in addition to the cost and time involved.  If it were as simple as some media reports over the last two years, other jurisdictions would not be struggling with the issue.


One occasionally hears the comment, “… many developers are racing to get in place….”  There have been some rumblings that the promised sewer capacity has not materialized for some as they had thought.   It is a little puzzling to read the statements of Chairman Davis and Mr. Dodd in the April 10 edition of the Athens Banner-Herald.   Sounds like Oconee will let Developers build infrastructure.  It sounds strange to be talking about ‘nodal development’ after the county has approved developments all over the county!


In my opinion, based on experience, Oconee’s decision three years ago to allocate sewer capacity to dense residential development was a serious mistake.   Sooner or later, capacity, costs, schedules and reality will come into play and the “Oconee Sewer Balloon” may be exposed as containing not a little  “hot air.” 


Stay tuned.


4-11-05 Oconee County Has Ambitious Sewer Plans


The Athens Banner-Herald



April 10, 2005


Oconee County plots sewer strategy

By Merritt Melancon


WATKINSVILLE - If projections for population growth and the current rate of development don't change much in Oconee County, the community could install $13 million in new sewer lines over next 10 years, said Utilities Director Gary Dodd.

This future figure for sewer construction comes from the newest version of the county's strategic master plan for sewer infrastructure, which county consultants Jordan, Jones & Goulding delivered to county officials last week. ……..

"It really just gives us strategies for connecting developments to our lines in different scenarios," said Dodd. "But everything can change with the kind of development that's coming in. We just don't want to be blindsided." ………

The last time county officials updated the master plan, which is required by the state Environmental Protection Division, was in 1998. …….

Most of the new sewer lines planned in the strategy map actually will be built by private contractors hired by project developers, not the county, said Dodd. ………

The developer is charged a connection fee, which pays for capacity in the sewer lines, and a capacity fee, which pays for processing capacity at the county's wastewater treatment plant.

Given a choice, most developers would rather build in an area that is already on a sewer line than build their own, said Commission Chairman Melvin Davis.

So, a sewer line installed by one developer may entice new developers to build in that same area, keeping development in compact nodes, he said.

"Hopefully, they'll develop where the water and the sewer lines already are," he said. "People are usually attracted to homes with county water and sewer. But they might not. That's why you must have your ordinances in place."

4-12-05 Gwinnett Lake Lanier Sewer Discharge Permit to Have Hearing




April 11, 2005


Gwinnett to hold Lake Lanier hearing

by Ken Stanford

LAWRENCEVILLE - Gwinnett County later this week holds a hearing on revised plans to discharge 40 million gallons of treated sewage into Lake Lanier.

The hearing will allow public input on the revised limits of the permit issued by EPD.

The Lake Lanier Association,
which took the county to court over the matter, is still concerned about the damage it feels will be done to the lake if the discharge is allowed……

4-9-05 Sewer Capacity is Costly and Takes Time


The Anderson Independent-Mail



April 8, 2005


Sewer crunch off for now –Stephens County-Toccoa


TOCCOA — If all goes well, Stephens County may not be in the crunch for sewer capacity that officials once anticipated, according to a preliminary report issued Thursday.

Stephens County officials must either renovate their old wastewater treatment plant or build a new facility, which could cost as much as $0 million, according to a report prepared by the Stephens County Development Authority’s sewer committee. …….

City officials set aside 225,000 gallons from Eastanollee Creek for the schools based on their sewer system’s design capacity, not its actual use. The schools’ usage already is counted in the wastewater plant’s average daily flow so the allocation creates a 454,000-gallon excess, the report says.

In addition, the city has applied to increase its Eastanollee Creek withdrawal from 1.45 million to 2 million gallons. Even without the school system’s excess, that gives city officials up to 500,000 gallons of extra sewer capacity, County Administrator Darrell Hampton said.

"That allows us to look at sewer expansions in a much more positive way," Mr. Hampton said, putting the county on a five- to seven-year plan for sewer expansion as opposed to looking at it in the next year and half.

The report alleviated some local officials’ fears that the limited sewer capacity could jeopardize future industrial development, but Toccoa Mayor Ken Davis called the report "optimistic."

"We may get that increase, we may not," he said……

The city’s application to increase water withdrawal has been in since September, and Mayor Davis said he’s hoping the city will get an answer in June when the station’s permit is due for renewal. …..

4-27-05 Sewage Spills Happen




WDUN Radio (550 AM) Gainesville


April 27, 2005


14,000 gallons of wastewater enters Flat Creek

By Scott Kimbler

GAINESVILLE - A sewage spill that totaled about 14,000 gallons was discovered by Gainesville utility crews at 3275 Willow Ridge Circle Tuesday.

City spokeswoman Catiel Felts says the overflow made it's way into a tributary of Flat Creek.

"It turned out the overflow was actually caused by a grease blockage in the sewer line."

Steve Payne, the Gainesville Environmental and Treatment Services Division Manager, says the spill was gradual and took place over a two-month period. He encourages people to keep an eye out for sewage spills.

"If they notice greener grass in a location of smell an odor that is unusual please contact the utilities department."

Signs have been posted in the area warning of the spill and the hazard of being around the water.