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Expanding plant capacity, extending service lines, and improving system flexibility for collection and treatment. These are the everyday challenges of managing capital improvements at a water and sewer public utility in one of the fastest growing counties in the nation.
The Henry County Water & Sewerage Authority (HCWSA) in McDonough, Ga., now will be able to accommodate new customers seeking sewer service in the Springdale basin, since available capacity and regulatory compliance are no longer at issue in this service area.
The HCWSA Board of Directors voted unanimously at its August meeting to lift the moratorium, after receiving news from engineering consultants that the Cotton Indian Creek Interceptor, Pump Station and Force Main are now ready to come on-line and divert excessive flow from the Authority’s Springdale Water Reclamation Facility (WRF) to the Walnut Creek WRF.
The moratorium was a temporary suspension of services to potential new customers in the basin that lies to the north of McDonough. It was issued to avoid potential violation of the Authority’s Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD) discharge permits for both land application systems and direct discharge to local streams, which were approaching permitted capacity, prior to the Cotton Indian Creek project being completed. Exceeding Georgia EPD designated discharge limits would have resulted in fines from regulatory agency and could have posed potential risks to the environment.
The moratorium had applied to all new residential, commercial or industrial development projects that had not received a development permit on or before Oct. 28, 2003. Extreme growth in the central portion of Henry County, especially in the McDonough area, resulted in the HCWSA’s Springdale WRF working near its wastewater treatment capacity of 2 million gallons per day (mgd). For this reason, the tree-part "Cotton Indian Creek" sewer system enhancement was needed to relieve the overworked Springdale Plant and divert sewer flow to the new Walnut Creek facility. The Authority budgeted $18 million to construct the Cotton Indian Interceptor line, Pump Station, and the Force Main line.
With all three parts now in place, wastewater in the central portion of the county, which flowed by gravity to the Springdale plant, now can be diverted away from that plant via the Big/Little Cotton Indian Creek Interceptor. The wastewater then can be lifted through higher elevations by the Cotton Indian Creek Pump Station and carried via the new Cotton Indian Creek Force Main Line to the Walnut Creek WRF. The new Walnut Creek plant, which opened in October of last year, has 4 mgd of wastewater treatment capacity. Authority officials have referred to Walnut Creek as "the backbone of the sewer system in Henry County" because of the capacity and added flexibility it provides.