0

Water Authority completes 10-year, $226 million plan

Special photo
The Hooper Water Production Plant is the Clayton County Water Authority’s largest water treatment plant, producing up to 20 million gallons of clean drinking water per day for Clayton County residents and businesses. This was also the county’s first water treatment plant.

Special photo The Hooper Water Production Plant is the Clayton County Water Authority’s largest water treatment plant, producing up to 20 million gallons of clean drinking water per day for Clayton County residents and businesses. This was also the county’s first water treatment plant.

Clayton County Water Authority officials have announced the completion of a 10-year, $226 million plan that included 28 capital improvement projects.

Authority General Manager P. Michael Thomas said the work puts Clayton County ahead of other utilities in the region. “While many utilities in the region are facing the daunting task of funding needed improvements, or upgrades, to their system or facilities, the completion of the Water Resources Initiative 2000 Master Plan puts CCWA ahead of the game,” said Thomas.

The 2000 Master Plan was approved by the authority’s board of directors in 2000. The total approved bid, or contract amount, for the projects was $226.99 million. The 28 capital improvement projects were completed this past fall, and came in under budget at a final contract amount of $226.15 million.

The projects were funded through revenue bonds sold in 2000, 2001, 2003 and 2005, said Thomas. The water authority also got a loan from the Georgia Environmental Finance Authority, and the its own Renewal and Extension Fund, which is used for its "pay as you go" strategy for funding capital improvement projects. The authority was also able to get back a total of $4.15 million in state sales tax refunds for several of the projects.

Water Authority Board Chairman Pete McQueen praised the efforts of authority employees. “Our staff did a great job working with engineering consultants and other contractors on all of these projects," McQueen said. "[That] is a lot of money to spend, but we were able to get our facilities upgraded and put in place our constructed treatment wetlands, which gives us a sustainable system. Plus, this master plan came in on time and under budget."

McQueen said the authority began using the "pay as you go" strategy for funding improvement projects after the 2005 revenue bonds were issued. This decision has put the authority in the position of not needing to borrow money to pay for improvement projects since that time, he said.

The final project of the master plan was a set of improvements to the J.W. Smith Water Production Plant in the panhandle part of the county. The Smith plant was placed into service in 1985 with a capacity of producing up to six million gallons of drinking water per day. The plant was expanded in 1990 to its current capacity of 12 million gallons per day.

CH2M Hill Engineers served as the design engineer and construction manager of the improvement project. Low bidder, Heavy Constructors Inc., served as the general contractor. Construction work began in August 2009 and was completed two years later.

The improvements to the Smith plant included such measures as rehabilitation of existing filters with new bottoms, media and controls; new chemical storage and feed systems; upgrades to the existing control building and operators’ laboratory; electrical system Improvements and mechanical upgrades.

The final construction cost for the plant project was $5.04 million and was funded by the authority’s Series 2005 Bond Issue and Renewal and Extension Fund.

"These completed improvements, along with the UV advanced disinfection facility that was completed in 2003, has the plant in good shape for years to come," said Thomas.

Capital projects that have been completed under the master plan include: the expansion and upgrade of all three water reclamation facilities –– Shoal Creek, Northeast and W.B. Casey; improvements to the W.J. Hooper and J.W. Smith water production plants; the addition of ultraviolet (UV) disinfection at all three water production plants; completion of the Panhandle Road Constructed Treatment Wetlands; completion of all four phases of the E.L. Huie, Jr., Constructed Treatment Wetlands; the addition of solids dewatering at the Hooper, Hicks and Smith Water production plants and Shoal Creek Water Reclamation facility; improvements to the Reeves Creek Lift Station, the W.B. Casey Pelletizing facility, the Reeves Creek Lift Station; and

construction of the Atlanta Lift Station, and development of a geographic information system.