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City poised to replace sewer plant
Aging infrastructure past its prime
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Jon Heard, director of Cumming Utilities, looks over wastewater as it is cleaned at the Lanier Beach South treatment facility. The Cumming City Council is scheduled to approve a bid to build a new pump station that would replace the facility, which dates to the 1970s. - photo by Crystal Ledford

Cumming officials are set to award a bid for construction of a new wastewater facility near Lake Lanier during their monthly meeting Tuesday night.

The project will replace the Lanier Beach South wastewater facility, which is on Lanier Beach South Road off Buford Dam Road in eastern Forsyth County.

Built in the early 1970s, the existing facility was designed to last about 20 years, said Jon Heard, director of the Cumming Utilities Department.

"The city took that system over in 2002 and when we took it over it was basically dilapidated," he said, noting the city paid $30,000 for the facility.

"It’s infrastructure that was built to last 20 to 30 years at the most and it’s been in use for about 40 years now."

The facility serves about 150 homes in the Lanier Beach South, South Shore and Deep Cove subdivisions, Heard said.

The facility includes two pumping stations and a wastewater treatment plant. It has a capacity of about 38,000 gallons of wastewater per day.

Heard said the city plans to remove the treatment plant and both pumping stations.

One new and larger pumping station will be built on a site about 1,000 feet to the southeast of the current facility.

The new pumping station will have a capacity rivaling that of the two old pumps combined.

A force main line will also be added along Lanier Beach South, Pine Tree and Wanda Woods roads, connecting to a sewer line along Buford Dam Road.

If the new structure is not built, Heard said, the old facility could fail, possibly leaving residents of the area without sewer service.

"If we don’t make these improvements, there’s a greater potential that a sewage spill could occur into the lake.

"Worst-case scenario, there could be a sewer outage and we’d have to figure out some way to provide sewer service to those customers."

The total project is estimated to cost about $700,000 and take about 120 days to complete.

"We hope to get started on it [as soon as possible] after the bid is approved and want to have it finished by the holidays," Heard said.

Several trees will be taken down for the project, Heard said, but many will be replanted around the finished site.

Efforts also will be taken to make the site "aesthetically pleasing to homeowners."

"We plan to plant an evergreen buffer around the site and we’ve tried to keep all the equipment low to the ground," Heard said.

"All the structures and the ground area will be painted a dark brown and the perimeter fence will be a black vinyl, rather than a metallic silver. We want to use colors that blend into the natural environment."