Officials: Area’s water system well-equipped for new industry
When discussing system capacity at a Jan. 25 board meeting of the Ellijay-Gilmer Water and Sewerage Authority, both the authority’s director and board chairman confirmed that local treatment plants have more than enough capacity to accommodate new industry and businesses in the county.
“We’ve got plenty of water right now. We’re in good shape water- and sewer-wise as it relates to any business or industry that wants to locate to Ellijay,” said authority director Gary McVey. “On average, with the permitted withdrawal, we have about another million and a half gallons we can use. We can handle another setup like Pilgrim’s Pride and still have excess capacity. We have even more capacity with wastewater.”
The water treatment plant on Victory Circle currently handles around 2.5 million gallons of withdrawn water per day. It can accommodate over 6 million a day and the authority is permitted to withdraw 4 million gallons a day from the Cartecay and 450 thousand a day from the Ellijay River, McVey told board members Mike Gibbs, Greg Teague, Tony Whitaker and Billy Rowe. The wastewater treatment plant is permitted to treat 2.5 million gallons a day, but recent upgrades now allow it to handle 4 million a day, he added.
“All we have to do is request that permit change. The reason we haven’t is because it does change our phosphorous limit. It would cost us a little more in chemicals, but (a permit change) would be very easy to do. Everything else is already there,” said McVey. In an effort to attract additional commercial interest, the city/county authority is extending a 50 percent reduction in impact fees for new commercial customers through June.
“We got so many new turnovers last time we did the (fee reductions), it was way beyond our expectations. We’re in this for the county, too. It’s not just us,” said Gibbs about how cutting impact fees can increase the potential for attracting new businesses.
McVey also gave an update on the stalled River Street water line replacement, stating that a crew will be resuming work on the project and the authority has been in contact with DOT personnel to explore running a new section of steel pipe underneath the River Street bridge instead of across the river, itself.
“We have some good news about the possibility (of putting the new pipe) on the underside support bents of the bridge. We know there’s a permit process to go through and we want to make sure that when (the connection is) designed, it’s the way (the DOT) wants it. It’s an old and sturdy bridge. The way the bents are, this will be perfect,” said McVey. “We also feel that if the DOT ever decides to widen that bridge, that line would be placed to where it won’t affect anything.”
Board members approved adding $2,500 for DOT insurance costs to an existing $17,625 agreement with Mullins Utility and Contracting to accomplish a bore under the railroad tracks that cross River Street to install another length of new pipe.
“They’re looking at doing that (railroad) bore about Feb. 8,” McVey said.