Water plant work ahead of schedule

By Billy Corriher

The Clayton County Water Authority's new state-of-the-art water reclamation plant is expected to be operational by this summer n more than a year earlier than expected.

The new W.B. Casey Water Reclamation Facility will be more efficient and will replace the existing Casey facility. The massive new plant will be right beside the old one off of Flint River Road.

Mike Buffington, program manager for the water authority, said that upgrading the old Casey plant would have been more expensive than building a new one.

"It would have cost a lot more to add on to the old facility," he said.

The new facility will have the capacity to handle 24 million gallons of wastewater a day, more than enough for the county's current capacity, and the plant can be expanded to meet the county's future needs, said Wade Brannan, director of the water authority.

"This whole thing's part of the water authority's plan for meeting the needs of the county as it grows," Brannan said.

The old Casey plant was built in the mid-1950's, Buffington said, and the area around the plant was not developed like it is today.

The new plant is now bordered by subdivisions, so the water authority is installing new odor control devices to minimize any bad smell.

"Several million dollars of (the construction funding) is for odor control," Buffington said. "We wanted our engineers to make odor control a top priority."

The plant will cost $55 million to build, and is funded by county bonds. And Brannan said that since the contractor, Brasfield and Gorrie, is so far ahead of schedule, the county is getting a good deal.

"The construction's gone extremely well," he said. "It's just a result of really good planning."

When the plant is finished, it will also allow the county to meet new environmental standards, Brannan said.

After passing through preliminary treatment, wastewater will be filtered through a biological process that uses bacteria to help remove solid waste.

The water will be disinfected and pumped to the Huie Wetlands site, where it flows through a series of ponds where plants further filter the water. Brannan said the use of the wetlands will provide the county with cleaner water.

"We depend on those plants to clear out any nutrients that are left," Brannan said.

The Casey facility will also house the regional headquarters for the Water Reclamation Department and will have laboratory facilities for testing water.