LAWRENCEVILLE - The initial work for a $200 million redesign for Gwinnett's second largest sewage plant will begin soon.
Commissioners approved a $16.8 million contract with Jordan, Jones & Goulding this week to complete the engineering design and support of the Yellow River Water Reclamation Facility improvement project.
The company will be involved in helping speed up construction, which is expected to take as much as five years, Public Utilities Director Frank Stephens said.
It's a complicated procedure because the Lilburn-area plant has to continue to treat sewage for the southern and western end of Gwinnett while construction is going on, he said.
That's the same method that has occurred during a 40-million gallon expansion of the F. Wayne Hill Water Resources Center, the county's largest sewage plant located in Buford.
The work there began in 1999 - even before the plant opened its first phase - and is nearing completion.
Stephens said the Yellow River plant's remodeling is part of a plan to shut down several of the smaller, older plants in the county.
Soon, the Snellville-area No Business Creek and the Jack's Creek plant west of Centerville will close operations. Once the Yellow River work is complete, two more plants will be shuttered - Beaver Ruin plant on Cruse Road and the Jackson Creek plant near the intersection of Killian Hill Road and U.S. Highway 29.
"All three plants need replacement, and it's much more cost-effective to replace one than to replace three," Stephens said.
He said operating smaller plants costs more money per unit treated than at the larger facilities.
So the Yellow River facility will be expanded to treat 22 million gallons of sewage a day, up from its current 14.5 million gallons a day.
At the same time, the old facility will be refurbished and the county will upgrade to stricter treatment capabilities.
"It's good for the rate-payers and good for the environment," Stephens said.
The Water & Sewerage Authority will take up the matter Monday.