Jackson County Water and Sewage Authority manager Eric Klerk discussed a problem of statewide sludge dumping brought on after landfills began raising tipping fees. The higher fees were reportedly due to stricter EPA restrictions and rising fuel costs.
As a result, some municipalities and private companies resorted to illegally dumping sewage into random systems.
According to Klerk, JCWSA has fallen victim to such illegal dumping in some of its far-flung manholes, a situation that greatly increases the county's sewerage plant’s load and creates other problems.
“We’re fortunate we have a huge basin that is less susceptible to shock loadings; if we had a smaller basin, it would be causing us some serious problems right now,” said Klerk.
Also during its July 8 meeting, JCWSA associate engineer Nathan Hester provided an engineering projects update including details on the Doster Creek interceptor and Bear Creek Dam water line projects, among several others. Hester also provided projections on items in its queue for years to come.
Doster Creek Interceptor Project
The Doster Creek interceptor will consist of nearly a mile of 24-inch sewer line near the intersection of Hwy.124 and Creek Nation Road in Jefferson and will eliminate the authority’s largest pump station.
With the anticipation of a lot of rock, engineers project the cost to total over $50 million, which will be funded with bond funds. The project is currently at 90 percent design completion and in acquisition of three access easements. Due to the project’s complexity and large size, the authority will be adding an additional step to its bidding process by pre-qualifying contractors allowed to bid.
According to Hester, the Doster Creek interceptor is a large and fairly complicated project.
“There’s a lot of rock, it's a flat sewer and it's large in diameter so we want to make sure we get a good contractor,” said Hester.
Bidding is anticipated to begin no later than spring of 2022.
Bear Creek Dam Water Line
The Bear Creek Dam water line will consist of 2,700 ft. of 8-inch water main across the dam for the Bear Creek Reservoir. Once complete, the water line will enable the authority to serve more customers. Currently, the authority purchases water from Barrow County in order to serve customers living on that side of the dam.
“It’s been very problematic for us over the years,” said Hester. “So we're going to put in this line and sell our own water to our own customers at that point."
The design will be atypical as the water line will cross the ridge on Savage Road and will be inside the dam itself. The project is approaching 90 percent design completion, upon which the authority will submit and set up plans with Georgia Safe Dams (GSD), a division of the Georgia Environmental Protection Agency. The official review and approval from GSD will take three months, said Hester, who wasn’t able to provide an opinion of probable cost just yet.
The anticipated bid date is January 2022.
Park Creek Dam Reservoir, Intakes and Pipelines Project
Klerk provided updates on the work performed to date at the Park Creek Dam as well as upcoming tasks, the project’s schedule, financials and an overview of the preliminary subsurface investigation at the dam site.
So far, the authority has performed a site visit of the dam and potential water treatment location and developed a conceptual layout of a potential water treatment plant adjacent to the dam. Subsurface drilling and rock coring and a geological evaluation have also been performed.
More recently, subsurface explorations were initiated May 4, a geophysical study within reservoir limits began June 22 and test pit explorations of potential borrow areas began July 5.
A field run surveying the dam site is currently underway.
Upcoming tasks include a topographic survey of the site, a quality control review of soil test boring logs and rock cores, development of estimates of permeability for the site’s rock foundation, initial risk register for the project and a site visit to proposed river intake and pipeline route.
So far, the project financials are in good standing as the amount spent-to-date totals $129,279, which falls well below contract amounts totaling over $1 million.
The bid phase is projected to be complete September 2022, with the construction phase to follow, which is projected to be complete by the end of 2023.
Other engineering projects discussed:
• Construction has begun on SPLOST Projects at the Hwy. 129 loop, Pleasant Acres and the project at Southwest Jackson and Lewis Roberts/ Ebenezer loop project has just kicked off. The tank pump at Jarrett Road is next in line to begin construction.
• The water resource master plan from 2009 is being updated with the immediate goal of choosing a future reservoir site. Three potential reservoir sites are highlighted in the master plan and under evaluation. According to Hester, all three sites are in eastern Jackson county, although the authority is still looking at several additional possibilities. The final master plan is projected to be completed in Nov. 2021
• Flow monitoring and flow forecasting methodology are completed, which showed JCWSA’s sewer system conditions are overall very good. The authority has come up with how they will forecast future flows and determined where the most growth will take place. They are currently trying to allocate their determinations to a model for future scenarios. Sewer master planning is projected to be completed Fall 2022.
• Agreed to move forward with a request from the Jackson County School System to put its logo on the water tower at Traditions of Braselton off Hwy. 124 as long as the school system agrees to cover all associated costs, which will include repainting the tower in 5-10 years. The next steps for JCWSA will be working towards a lease agreement with the school system.