CUMMING — A sewer project put on hold nearly three years ago is poised to get under way.
The Cumming City Council voted 5-0 on Tuesday to begin construction of a new wastewater pump station off Lanier Beach South Road, which is off Buford Dam Road on Lake Lanier in eastern Forsyth County.
Jon Heard, the city’s director of utilities, said the facility is needed to replace the existing antiquated equipment.
“We’ve just got to make a move,” Heard said after the meeting. “We don’t have a choice but to move forward because that thing is dangerous. It’s dangerous for our employees working there and there’s the fear that if something went out of compliance it would affect the lake.
“We would do everything in our power to keep that from happening, but you just never know with something that old.”
The current facility, which serves about 150 homes in the Lanier Beach South, Deep Cove and South Shore subdivisions, includes two pumping stations and a wastewater treatment plant, all of which were built in the early 1970s. The site has a capacity of about 38,000 gallons of wastewater per day.
Mayor H. Ford Gravitt said the city set aside nearly $700,000 for the replacement project in summer 2011.
The project had been bid out and construction was about to begin when city officials decided to put it on hold due to opposition from area residents.
But during a public hearing on the matter Tuesday, no opposition was aired. Rather, seven people who live near the current pump station, which was designed to last about 20 years, spoke in favor of the project.
All who addressed council Tuesday said the existing facility is an irritation for several reasons, including constant noise and an odor that’s particularly strong at certain times of the year.
“The pump station is right behind me and we get the summer odor, when it gets really hot, directly in our backyard,” Jason Plant said.
“The pump, they’re always out there working on it, at least once a week … it’s old technology and one day it’s just going to go and it’s going to be a big mess.”
Heard said he had been in contact with Lanier Contractors, which was awarded the bid three years ago. Officials told him they could begin work right away and that the project likely would take about four months to complete.
The city plans to remove the treatment plant and both pumping stations, and install a new larger pumping facility on a site nearby on U.S. Army Corps of Engineers property.
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, which would carry the sewage to a municipal treatment facility on Bethelview Road.
Heard said the new pump station would be painted dark brown so it would better blend into the natural surroundings. While some trees would be removed during construction, more would be replanted when the facility is finished.