Sunday, March 27, 2016

Three Oconee County Meetings This Week Will Focus On Sewer Issues

Director At Center Stage

Oconee County Utility Department Director Wayne Haynie has a busy week ahead of him.

On Monday Haynie is to appear before a group calling itself Friends of Calls Creek to provide an update on plans to put a sewer line down the creek, and through the yards of a number of residents of subdivisions along the creek.

That meeting starts at 6:30 p.m. in the Oconee County Library in Watkinsville.

On Tuesday Haynie appears before the Board of Commissioners to update it on water and wastewater projects.

That meeting starts at 7 p.m. in the Courthouse in Watkinsville.

On Thursday Haynie will be back at the Oconee County Library for a presentation to Oconeewaters, a local group that monitors streams in the county.

Haynie’s Thursday presentation starts at 6:30 p.m. and will focus on the update of the Calls Creek wastewater facility, the pipeline down Calls Creek, and the county’s water and wastewater master plans.

The agenda also includes a discussion of Oconeewaters Adopt-A-Stream sites and of training programs for persons interested in doing stream monitoring.

BOC Agenda

Haynie’s presentation to the Board of Commissioners is the ninth item on a relatively light agenda for Tuesday night meeting.

Haynie At Calls Creek

The commissioners will hear from four of the eight applicants for two openings on the Oconee County Animal Control Advisory Board. The other four cannot attend.

Included on this list are several people involved in the volunteer foster program at the Animal Shelter and others offering support for the shelter and its administration.

Last year, the commissioners had 13 applicants for three slots and passed over seven people who identified themselves as volunteers to appoint three people who are dog breeders and showers.

Other Agenda Items

The BOC also will hear from the single applicant for the opening on the Family And Children Services Board and the single applicant for the four openings on the Keep Oconee County Beautiful Commission.

The Board will receive a recommendation from County Administrative Officer Jeff Benko for award of a contract for architectural planning services for renovation and security upgrades to the Courthouse.

In January the county issued a request for qualifications to all Georgia registered architectural and engineering consulting companies interested in providing professional services for a security improvement plan for the Courthouse.

The plan is a secret, for security reasons, and the public isn’t likely to learn much about it at the meeting on Tuesday night.

Friends Of Calls Creek

Residents in the subdivisions and residential areas along Calls Creek formed Friends of Calls Creek after the county announced on Feb. 5 that surveyors would be on their properties to begin work for a possible discharge pipe planned for the creek.

The 24-inch pipe cannot run down the creek itself. State law requires that the proposed pipe must be at least 25 feet back from the creek’s bank, which would put in the yards of many residents along the creek.

BOC Minutes Dec. 2, 2008 (Click To Enlarge)

Haynie has told the organizers of the meeting on Monday night that he will be accompanied by Jimmy Parker from Precision Planning Inc. of Monroe, who will explain the outcome of the recently completed survey work.

Haynie is to be joined at the Thursday night meeting by Erin Carlton, Wastewater Utility supervisor, when he will talk again about the pipeline but also the plans for the upgrade of the Calls Creek plant.

Calls Creek Upgrade

The county currently is moving forward with plans to upgrade the Calls Creek plant from its current capacity of .667 million gallons per day to 1.5 million gallons per day.

The state will allow only 1.5 million gallons per day of treated wastewater to be discharged into Calls Creek given its natural flow.

Haynie has announced plans to expand the Calls Creek plant to 3 million gallons per day because the county has sold and promised sewer capacity in excess of the current capacity of the county’s plants and anticipates increased demand as the local economy heats up.

Since that additional 1.5 million gallons per day of treated sewer water cannot be discharged into Calls Creek, the county needs the proposed line to discharge that 1.5 million gallons to the much larger Middle Oconee River.

Planned Pipelines

The county has long planned to run a pipeline down Calls Creek, as well as another line down McNutt Creek from Epps Bridge Parkway to the Middle Oconee.

Both lines are to terminate in a new sewage treatment plant on the Middle Oconee River at the confluence of Calls Creek and the river.

BOC Minutes May 6, 2014, Part I (Click To Enlarge)

On the county’s 10-Year Wastewater Strategic Plan FY 2015 to 2015, both of those lines are designated as “Gravity Sewer Long-Range.”

The map also shows the Future Middle Oconee WRF, or Water Reclamation Facility.

The map was created for the county by Parker’s Precision Planning Inc.

Calls Creek History

The Calls Creek plant was built in 1985 and upgraded in 1995. It sits on a 22-acre tract but uses only about four of those acres.

At present, the plant uses an experimental biomembrane process that can produce water to meet reclaimed water standards for use on golf course irrigation or some similar projects.

The new 1.5 million gallons per day facility in the planning stage will use a traditional technology that will meet state standards for discharge but will not be of the reclaimed water standard.

BOC Minutes May 6, 2014, Part II (Click To Enlarge)

The second 1.5 million gallons per day facility also will use the traditional technology.

The county has had problems operating the biomembrane plant correctly and found maintenance costs to be higher than expected.

Four Options

The County’s Utility Department Long Range Wastewater Strategies Final Report 2005 presented the county with four options for developing its wastewater treatment capacity.

Three of the four called for construction of a sewage treatment plant on the Middle Oconee River.

Option 4, which the report recommended, calls for the Middle Oconee Facility to be operational by 2012 and to be operating with a capacity of 3.5 million gallons per day by 2025.

Option 4 anticipated that the Calls Creek plant would have been expanded to 1 million gallons per day in the short term.

Calls Creek Phased Out

That capacity at Calls Creek would be exhausted by 2012, the report said, and, after the Middle Oconee facility “is on line, the Calls Creek WRF may be decommissioned.”

With the Calls Creek plant decommissioned , the county would need the sewer line down Calls Creek, as called for in the report and in 10-Year Wastewater Strategic Plan FY 2015 to 2015

Jordan Jones & Goulding, a firm then operating in Athens, conducted the study for the county.

Current Oconee County Utility Department Director Haynie worked for JJ&G at that time.

No Middle Oconee WRF

The problem that Haynie, who joined the county as Utility Department director in August of last year, is now confronting is that the county has done nothing to upgrade its sewage treatment capacity since shortly after JJ&G wrote that report in 2005.

The Board of Commissioners voted on Dec. 2 of 2008 to expand the Calls Creek plant to 1 million gallons per day from its current .667.

That never happened.

The county has not acquired land for the Middle Oconee sewer plant, let alone build it.

What County Did Do

Rather than expand the Calls Creek Plant, the Board of Commissioners transferred $2 million from the Water and Sewer Account in the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax Fund from 2009 to pay off the debt on the Jail and related facilities–at a savings of $79,000.

That vote was in May of 2014. The money was to be replaced in SPLOST 2015, which is only now collecting funds.

SPLOST Records show only $1.5 million was transferred.

The Commission also spent $1.3 million on the McNutt Creek Sewer Line Extension, which is to transfer via gravity sewage from Bogart to a pump station at McNutt Creek and Epps Bridge Parkway near Kohl’s department store.

Pipeline To Nowhere

From the station at Kohl’s, the sewage is pumped to the Calls Creek Plant, which, at present, isn’t capable of handling any new capacity.

If the Middle Oconee plant and the continuation of the McNutt Creek sewer line had been built, that sewage would be flowing to the Middle Oconee River Water Reclamation Facility.

In simplest terms, the Commission invested in a sewer line rather than in the sewer plants needed to treat what flows through the line.

That is the bind that Haynie now finds himself in and that he’ll be discussing at his three meetings this week.

No comments: