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City council updated on water, sewage work
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Forsyth County News
Cumming’s mayor and city council received updates Tuesday night on various water and sewage projects totaling about $60 million.

Among them was the recent completion of the 1020 project, which positions the city to draw as much as 105 million gallons per day from Lake Lanier at depths of 1,020 feet above sea level.

The project, which began during the historic low lake levels of winter 2008, was completed last month. The $14 million project includes two water pumps, a 78-inch pipe extending far out into the lake and a new pump station.

The lake recently hit full pool of 1,071 feet for the first time since September 2005, having risen 21 feet in nearly two years.

Engineering consultant Butch Johnson said the capability of the 1020 project is “way beyond the maybe 25 to 30 [million gallons of water] that is needed right now,” calling it a “project for the future.”

The Bethelview Road wastewater treatment plant is among the older projects Johnson reviewed with council, having been completed more than a year ago.

The $30 million facility expanded capacity, allowing the city to treat 8 million gallons per day, up from 3 million gallons. Johnson said the plant has “been operating successfully.”

Other projects include sewer line improvement along Mary Alice Park Road and pump station and sewer line work on Samples Road to accommodate three nearby schools.

Cumming Mayor H. Ford Gravitt noted there are “another 3,000 acres more in that area that we can serve” through the station, which has been complete for about three months.

An elevated storage tank has been added on Hendrix Road to serve the north end of the city. The 1-million-gallon tank was completed about four months ago to help water customers experiencing low pressure and other problems.

Johnson said the tank will enhance service, but also is “part of the overall water system strategy to provide good pressure everywhere.”

The most recent project is an automatic sludge removal system in the city’s potable water production facility. The upgrade will allow the plant to stay at full operation without having to go offline to remove the sludge periodically.

The $1.9 million effort has been aided by a $475,000 grant and a $712,000 loan through the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Johnson said the punch list is complete on an addition to the city’s water treatment plant, which turned out well and is “a good addition to your potable water production capacity.”

The $6 million project expanded daily treatment capacity from 18 million to 24 million gallons, preparing the city to handle treatment for another 20 to 25 years.

Gravitt noted the city’s projects are “ready to go when the economy comes back, so we’ll be posed to take on all of the development that’s going on in the city service area with these upgrades.”

“The city had money in the reserves to pay for all of these [projects] ... the city didn’t have to go into debt to build these projects.”