Dawsonville officials met on April 21 to talk about plans for a forthcoming wastewater plant southwest of the city.
The plant would expand the city’s wastewater capacity from 400,000 to 800,000 gallons per day and have water treated at a higher standard than the current method of spray distribution.
Lamar Rogers with Turnipseed Engineers explained that current images show plans for a plant location southwest of the city near Flat Creek, farther down the similarly-named basin from the current plant. After its completion, the land reclamation facility in use will then be decommissioned.
Recommended improvements include a grid separator, raw sewage pump station, carousel, aeration basin, two clarifiers, tertiary filters, ultraviolet disinfection, post-aeration system, return sludge pump station aerobic digestion, sludge dewatering building, plant pump station, chemical feed equipment and a control building.
A roadway is being planned as part of the project, said City Manager Bob Bolz. The city of Dawsonville owns enough of the surrounding property to add in a road for a service route. That road would come through the current maintenance facility area.
Two sewage pump stations may also be installed inside city limits to eliminate some of the older systems and decommission some of the older stations.
Dawsonville has been awarded a $3 million infrastructure grant from Gov. Brian Kemp. During the meeting, Rogers mentioned that the city will also be applying for a USDA rural development grant as well. That was part of the reason for having the April 21 meeting, along with adhering to state Environmental Protection Division regulations by providing opportunity for public feedback.
Bolz added that additional project funds could be secured by some sort of supplemental financing, which could be beneficial to take advantage of soon given lower interest rates compared to what’s expected in the future.
The city “wants to try to look at or spend the money like it’s their own and be cost-effective,” Bolz said.
He explained that while their system can handle some wastewater capacity now, it’s “not a lot,” and they’re getting close to all EPD would allow the city to do.
“Then everything would stop…and we’d be dead in the water with no more homes, industries or buildings moving in [so to speak],” Bolz said.
More capacity will be needed should new commercial, industrial or residential entities want to build within the city limits in the next decade or so.
Bolz and Rogers were not able to give an estimate of exactly how much longer the current wastewater system would still function effectively. However, Bolz noted the need for wastewater management growth, given that the city’s population grew by more than 40 percent in the past 10 years.
“It (wastewater treatment) is just as if not more important than other things,” said Bolz, “when talking about life-safety and public health.”