Saturday, February 11, 2023

Hard Labor Creek Reservoir Management Board Moves Forward With Water Treatment Plant, Issuing $8.3 Million Design Contract

***Plans For Intake On Apalachee Also Progressing***

The Hard Labor Creek Reservoir Management Board on Monday approved an $8.3 million proposal from Jacobs Engineering Consulting Group Inc. of Atlanta for design of the water treatment plant at the reservoir jointly owned by Oconee and Walton counties.

The Board also agreed to shortlist and request competitive pricing from the three highest ranked firms for engineering design services for the transmission system from the plant to Walton County’s currently existing water distribution system.

Because Oconee County does not need the water at present, transmission lines to Oconee County are not included in the plans.

Responses to the Request for Proposals for a Construction Manager at Risk will be received on March 14 and will be reviewed by the Management Board at a subsequent meeting.

The Reservoir Management Board, to which Oconee County appoints three of the seven members, is only advisory to the Walton County Water and Sewer Authority.

The Walton Water and Sewer Authority, which meets with the Management Board, also approved the Jacobs proposal and the shortlist.

Reservoir Program Manager Jimmy Parker told the Board and Authority he has received the order surrendering the license for the small hydroelectric plant on the Apalachee River at High Shoals, allowing the Board to move forward with construction of an intake facility at High Shoals to withdraw water from the river.

Executive Committee Review

Oconee County Commissioner Mark Saxon, who chairs the Reservoir Management Board, said the short list for the transmission line design work was the result of a lot of work of the Hard Labor Creek Executive Committee.

Parker (Head Of Table Left), Saxon,
(Right Hand Side Of Table): Thompson, 
Oconee Representatives Justin Kirouac, Chuck Horton
Saxon is joined on the Executive Committee by David Thompson, Chairman of the Walton County Board of Commissioners and a member of the Reservoir Management Board, and Brad Johnson, Chairman of the Water and Sewer Authority.

“It kept me up a lot of nights,” Saxon said of the seven applications. “It’s a lot of reading, I’ll tell you what.”

The three selected firms were Prime Engineering Inc., Engineering Strategies Inc., and Carter and Sloope Inc. Each will be asked to submit competitive engineering proposals for the water transmission main design services.

The transmission line will run a little more than 12 miles from the treatment plant at the reservoir in the southeastern corner of Walton County to State Route 138, Parker said.

Oconee County and Walton County are partners in the project, but Walton County has said it needs the water now, while Oconee County does not.

The decision to move forward on the treatment plant, approved by the Management Board and Water and Sewer Authority last September, was in response to a request by Board of Commissioners Chair Thompson of Walton County.

Jacobs Proposal

At its meeting on Dec. 13, the Management Board and Water and Sewer Authority had selected Jacobs Engineering from four firms that had submitted proposals for design work on the treatment plant.

Aerial View Of Location Of Treatment Plant

The proposal approved by the two bodies on Monday is for engineering services for design, permitting, and construction support related to phase 1 design and construction of the water treatment facility.

Phase 1 is to result in a 16-million gallon per day “conventional gravity filtration plant” that can be expanded, in phase 2, to a 62-million gallon per day facility.

Earlier, the Management Board and Water and Sewer Authority agreed to pay Jacobs $156,100 for separate work on the initial permitting steps for the water treatment facility and on an update of the 2016 Basis of Design Report for the plant.

Parker told the Board and Authority that the Construction Manager At Risk Request for Proposals “is going out to the actual contractors who will build the facility once Jacobs designs the permits.”

The contracts will provide a guaranteed maximum price in their responses, he said.

Design will take 18 to 19 months, Parker said.

Apalachee River Intake

At present, the water in the Hard Labor Creek Reservoir comes from the watershed of the creek, but the phase 2 expansion will require that water from the Apalachee River be piped to the reservoir to increase its output capacity.

The plan is to build an intake on the Apalachee River upstream from the existing hydroelectric plant and Highway 186, necessitating the use of water now powering that plant.

Jason and Carol Victoria Presley, who hold the license with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), filed an application to surrender the permit on Nov. 7, 2019, and supplemented that application on Jan. 27, 2022.

“The licensee found continued operation of the project infeasible when considering Walton County’s proposed water withdrawal in the project reservoir,” the FERC surrender document stated.

Approval of that surrender of the license was approved on Dec. 28, 2022.

Parker reported that intake construction plans are complete and ready for permitting, subject to compliance with the FERC surrender and final land acquisition.

The steel-head gates at the intake have to be closed and the turbine units have to be inactivated, among other things, according to the FERC surrender document.

The intake facility is on a 3.48 acre parcel between SR 186 and the Apalachee River in Walton County owned by Victoria Bracewell Presley.

Upper Oconee Basin Water Authority

The resolution passed by Management Board and the Water and Sewer Authority in September authorized the issuance of $69 million in revenue bonds by Walton County for its share of the costs of a water treatment plant and needed transmission lines.

Oconee County Board of Commissioners Chair John Daniell informed Thompson that Oconee County will commit no more than $12 million to the project.

This calculation is based on the ability of the county to finance the project, Daniell said.

The Management Board approved a resolution authorizing issuance of those Walton County bonds on Oct. 4 of last year.

At present, Oconee County gets most of its water from the Bear Creek Reservoir in Jackson County, a partnership of Oconee, Barrow, Clarke, and Jackson counties.

The Upper Oconee Basin Water and Sewer Authority approved expansion of the Bear Creek Reservoir treatment plant from 21 million gallons per day to 42 million gallons per day, Caitlin Farmer reported on page B2 of the Feb. 2, 2023, edition of The Oconee Enterprise.


I installed my camera on a tripod at the rear of the room at the Walton County Historic Courthouse in Monroe before the meeting on Feb. 6 and returned after the meeting ended to retrieve it.

The video I recorded is below.

Discussion of the water treatment plant begins at 4:18 in the video.

I also installed my camera on a tripod at the meeting of the Dec. 23 meeting of the Management Board and Water and Sewer Authority.

That is the second video below.

At minute 8:82, I overlaid a video given me by Parker that was shown at the meeting and that presents the plans for the water treatment plant.

The picture above was taken from that video.

The third video, also from a camera I installed at the meeting, is of the very brief meeting of the Board and Authority on Oct. 4, 2022.

No comments: