July 21, 2014 10:05:58 AM
Lowndes County supervisors have approved utility permits for Columbus Light and Water on several county roads that will allow the utility company to install a pressure sewer main connecting the New Hope School District to the city's sewer system.
Last year, the county school district and CL&W agreed to a memorandum of understanding that would have the school system pay for installation of a pipe that would transfer sewage into CL&W's sewer line. It would connect the pipe to the lagoon located behind New Hope Middle School. The wastewater in the lagoon would be filled and the land converted into another use for the district in the future.
The connection project will run along New Hope Road, Oswalt Road, Casey Lane and Yorkville Road East. CL&W and engineering firm Neel-Schaffer will put the project out to bid next month, according to JBHM architect Joey Henderson.
"The school district was struggling with the lagoon at New Hope because of continuous maintenance issues, keeping up with Department of Environmental Quality standards and the load that was on that facility, so we started helping them looking for options," Henderson said. "We looked at doing a treatment facility. We talked about possibility of expanding lagoon, which is frowned upon by DEQ, or we could get out of the sewer business. That's when we began to pursue Columbus Light & Water taking on the sewer for the district. When we ran the analyses, that was really the best option for the school."
Henderson said the lagoon or some form of lagoon has likely been on New Hope's campus since there has been a New Hope campus.
"It was the only option to treat sewage," Henderson said. "There was no sewer system out there. Most residents had septic tanks, and when you get to a school, you can't meet the capacity with a septic tank, so you end of having to do lagoons. As time rolls on, they become more and more frowned upon because of maintenance issues and unsightliness."
CL&W General Manager Todd Gale said in August that once the connection is complete, the school district would pay about $50,000 monthly in utility fees for sewage processing costs.
Utility permits are required to dig into county rights-of-way and easements must be acquired from property owners to install service lines.
Nathan Gregory covers city and county government for The Dispatch.
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