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McDonald visits water treatment plant after $32.6M state grant announcement
State Rep. Lauren McDonald takes a tour of the Forsyth County Water Treatment Plant off Antioch Road on Friday, Feb. 25.

Following a recent announcement that Forsyth County will receive a big boost in funding for water projects, a local lawmaker toured the county water treatment facility.

State Rep. Lauren McDonald III visited the Forsyth County Water Treatment Plant on Friday, Feb. 25, taking a tour led by John Marshall, the county’s water and wastewater plant manager.

McDonald’s visit follows an announcement by Gov. Brian Kemp that the county was awarded $32.6 million for future water and sewer infrastructure upgrades and projects.

“Because we remained focused on protecting lives and livelihoods throughout the pandemic, Georgia is now in a position to make strategic, transformational investments in our state’s water and sewer infrastructure,” Kemp said in a news release.

“We awarded this project to support Forsyth County in returning water to Lake Lanier to secure water supply for a growing Metro Atlanta area for generations. We are glad to put our support behind this unique project that benefits not only Forsyth County but also north Georgia and the entire state.”

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John Marshall, right, explains how much water the treatment plant processes and the procedures for treating wastewater. Photo courtesy Forsyth County government.

McDonald said the funding comes from “over $440 million” from the federal government for infrastructure in the state of Georgia.

The funds Forsyth County will receive are targeted for the construction of a pipeline and diffuser between the Fowler Water Reclamation Facility and Lake Lanier to return treated wastewater to the lake.

“Major water infrastructure updates such as the return flow pipe and water intake facility have been years, even decades, in the making and we are excited to see those plans come to fruition,” said Alfred John, chairman and District 2 commissioner, in the release. “I appreciate the governor’s support for our water infrastructure initiatives that will help lay the foundation for our community’s future.”

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State Rep. Lauren McDonald takes a tour of the Forsyth County Water Treatment Plant off Antioch Road on Friday, Feb. 25.

McDonald said that Forsyth County was the “largest single county recipient of [funding for] $32.6 million.”

“[The state sees] our needs, they see our growth in Forsyth County and the need for some infrastructure upgrades,” McDonald said.

During the tour at the water treatment plant on Antioch Road, McDonald learned about the process of treating wastewater.

“Being a fireman of 27 years, and 23 [of those years] in Forsyth County, I didn’t think about the water that comes from the hydrant to the firetruck and onto the fire,” McDonald said. “All that’s treated water.”

Barry Lucas, director of the Forsyth County Department of Water and Sewer, said that the funding from the state was “huge for [Forsyth County].”

“All of our [water and sewer] projects together are around $350 million over the next five years, so to get money from the federal government is huge for us,” Lucas said.

The pipeline from the Fowler Water Reclamation Facility to Lake Lanier will cost about $65 million.

Other projects include construction of a raw water intake facility along Lake Lanier that will “provide reliability and redundancy for water supply [and] improved water quality.” This project is expected to cost $85 million.

State Rep. Lauren McDonald's thoughts

Video by Forsyth County government.

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