Expansion of the Calls Creek wastewater treatment plant to 1.5 million gallons per day from its current .667 million gallons per day of capacity should serve county needs until 2025, according to forecasts the county provided to the state Environmental Protection Division on Monday.
Expansion of the Calls Creek Plant to 3 million gallons per day would allow the county to meet needs through 2035, the county said.
By 2050, however, the county expects it will need nearly 5 million gallons per day of sewage treatment capability, and it is asking the state to reserve that capacity for the county.
The county provided the projections to the EPD to support its request that it be allowed to discharge 1.5 million gallons per day of treated wastewater into Calls Creek from its existing plant on that stream off North Main Street on the northern edge of Watkinsville.
The county also is asking EPD to consider allowing it to discharge a total of 3 million gallons per day of treated wastewater into Calls Creek by 2020, thereby eliminating the need at least through 2035 for a sewer line down Calls Creek.
Wastewater Flow Forecasts
The wastewater flow forecasts were generated by Engineered Horizons of Duluth in association with Carter and Sloope, a consulting firm based just outside Butler’s Crossing.
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The county has contracted with Carter and Sloope for help with development of an updated wastewater master plan. Work on that plan is ongoing.
Utility Department Director Wayne Haynie turned to Carter and Sloope for help when the EPD asked for additional information in support of the county’s request in March for an increase in the waste load allocation for Calls Creek.
Haynie told me on July 15 he expected a pretty quick response from the EPD on that request once it has had a chance to process the data the county was to provide.
Engineered Horizons used population projections for the county that are much lower than those used by the county in the past.
Using estimates developed by the Georgia Office of Planning and Budget, the firm projects the county’s population to grow from its current 35,965 (as estimated by the U.S. Bureau of the Census) to 38,483 in 2020 and 62,289 in 2050.
Growth rates are expected to be in the range of 1.5 percent per year to 1.9 percent over that time period.
At present, the county has only 2,202 sewage customers, with 1,720 of those residential users and 480 commercial and institutional customers. The county has two industrial users, AmeriPride in Watkinsville and Benson’s Bakery in Bogart.
Athens-Clarke County treats the sewage from the Caterpillar plant, which straddles the border of the two counties on the eastern side of Bogart.
The county has two sewage treatment facilities, one on Rocky Branch Road in the west of the county and the other at Calls Creek.
At present, the Rocky Branch facility is a Land Application System and has a capacity of 0.4 million gallons per day.
The county also holds a permit to discharge 1.0 million gallons per day of treated sewage to Barber Creek from an unbuilt plant on that site.
The Calls Creek plant is permitted at .667 million gallons per day, and the county has a permit to upgrade that plant to 1 million gallons per day.
The Calls Creek permit, as well as the one at Barber Creek, were issued for membrane filtration designs, which the county wants to abandon because of the cost of operation.
The county has approximately 0.8 million gallons per day of paid for, but unused, wastewater treatment capacity commitments, according to the Engineered Horizons study.
The firm included those commitments in the projections of flow for the 2020 to 2025 period.
At present, only 13 percent of the population currently has access to sewer service, the report states.
That figure is expected to grow to 25 percent in 2050.
The report by Engineered Horizons is called a Technical Memorandum on Wasterwaer Flow Forecasts through Year 2050 and was attached to a letter Haynie sent to Benoit Causse, program manager at EPD on Monday.
That letter and full report were provided to me by Haynie today (Thursday) and are available for download HERE from my Box.net site.
The report the county sent to the EPD said that the county will have options for expansion of its facilities in the future.
One option is continued expansion at the Calls Creek site, requiring “an effluent sewer line” down Calls Creek to discharge into the Middle Oconee River. That pipeline has met with strong opposition from residents along the creek.
Another is a new facility on the Middle Oconee River.