Thursday, July 28, 2016

Expansion Of Calls Creek Sewer Plant To 1.5 MGD Will Serve Needs Until 2025, Oconee County Tells EPD

Need 5 MGD In 2050

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.

Population Projections
(Click To Enlarge)

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.

Population Projections

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.

Two Facilities

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.

Existing Commitments

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.

Document Attached

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 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.


rightway1974 said...

I was right. They low balled the numbers to gain the extra GPD. This will allow them to dump more sewage without a new line down calls creek.

Anonymous said...

Was it stated in the contact that Carter & Sloope could subcontract out the services?
Very odd.
Good luck finding the true stats.

Anonymous said...

Frankly, when it comes to wastewater treatment in Oconee, the county, Melvin Davis and Wayne Haynie have ZERO credibility. The county has either withheld information or given out misinformation.

I don't understand the Calls Creek No Sewer crowd. They are furious with the county, yet them did not campaign against the two establishment candidates for county commissioner, Saxon and Thomas.

It's y'all's own fault for electing the same old, same old feckless commission candidates.

And if anyone thinks Melvin does have his hands in this, I have a bridge to sell 'ya.

Anonymous said...

@RightWay1974 - What do you mean they "lowballed the numbers?" The extra 900k gallons per day wil only serve the county for 9 more years... And by the way, that 900k gallons per day was already supposed to be online by now, but was never done. At this point, the county is behind the growth curve and it needs to plan for the future. Personally I'd rather the county build one large, expandable sewer plant today that will take care of us for the next 40 years, rather than messing with the existing plant multiple times between now and 2050.

Anonymous said...

Hey Anon 1:30, you're way off!!

The company hired by and approved by Oconee County forecasts less than a two percent growth rate annually until 2050.

That's a fairly slow growth rate, and way under the forecasted growth rates for neighboring counties.

But that's what Oconee County is presenting to the public.

Melvin and Wayne Haynie can't have their cake and eat it too.

They are forecasting under 2 percent growth annually. They better not dare come back later and increase that forecast!!

According to the very same forecast they approved, there is a slow growth rate for the next 34 years, with no need to spend tens of millions on a new wastewater plant.

They've put themselves in a corner. Curious to see how the various figures and forecasts are manipulated over the new few years to meet their end goals.

Xardox said...

A real problem bearing down for years.
Re-electing the incumbents at least will serve to keep those responsible around for a while.
Too bad for the new chairman, though.

rightway1974 said...

What term would you use anon 1:30? Call it what you will, but they fudged the numbers and it very obvious.