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Forsyth looks at Lanier for future wastewater discharge

Treated wastewater from Forsyth County reclamation facilities may be discharged into Lake Lanier in the future.

During a recent work session, county commissioners heard a presentation on the wastewater master plan, which was done by engineers with Constantine Group. One of the major changes the system makes is changing where the water eventually ends up from the Chattahoochee to Lake Lanier.

“In the history of the county wastewater development, all that growth has happened in south Forsyth County, therefore all that flow is going to the Chattahoochee River. We don’t have the infrastructure in place at all to go to the lake right now,” Downing said.

Downing said the state Environmental Protection Division and the North Georgia Planning District said “all future wastewater flows for this county will need to go to back to Lake Lanier, not the Chattahoochee River.”

To get to the lake, the group looked at three options: further expanding the Fowler Wastewater Reclamation Facility and building a new Lanier plant in northeast Forsyth later; a hybrid plan to let Lanier take part of the load, with Fowler doing most; and using Hwy. 20 as a border and sending everything north to the Lanier facility, which Downing said is both the most cost effective and has “a lot of unknowns.”

The second option was the most popular in the study, but Perkins said that is still up in the air.

“One of the key unknowns right now is where this will be allowed; that could change things,” Perkins said. “These options, we may shift … we may have to adjust, but at least we have options studied. But right now, we don’t have an answer.”

Earlier this month, Forsyth County approved a $63 million expansion for the Fowler plant. Joe Downing with Constantine said the county called the project a “workhorse.”

“We’re showing that max month flow will exceed your existing capacity this year, theoretically, and that’s quite accurate,” Downing said. “So, we know we’ve got to crunch to do something about capacity in the next five years.”

It was also discussed that flowing into the lake would strengthen the county’s argument for getting its own water from the lake.
They also discussed doing common work with the city of Cumming’s sewer program.

Perkins said the next step is to add recommended projects from the study to the capital improvement plan.