Ground broken for sewage plant

STATHAM - In breaking ground Tuesday on a sewage treatment plant that will allow increased development along Ga. Highway 316, the chairman of Barrow's Water and Sewer Authority said the county needs to remember the people who will be using the facility for years to come.

"What we do here will be used by generations in the future and not just us," Chairman Stan Coley said. "We need to look forward."

The Barber Creek Water Reclamation Facility, as it is known, has been something that various officials have been looking forward to for more than a decade. Statham's mayor, Robert Bridges, said he has been planning a sewage treatment plant for the city for 12 years.

Bridges said it didn't take him long to realize that the project could potentially serve more than just Statham. The plant, which is the first step in a wastewater treatment master plan completed for the county in 2003, will be serving part of Oconee County and a large portion of Barrow, including Statham and part of Winder.

"I'm excited," Bridges said. "It's one dream I've had for years."

Construction began on the $7.2 million plant on Wylie McGuire Road on Dec. 1. It will be built over this year on 37 acres of land and will come online with a capacity of half a million gallons a day. Over time, that capacity will be increased to 1.5 million gallons daily.

Coley said the plant will allow for smart growth along Ga. Highway 316, bringing a good tax base to the county.

"It's a major step in our county," he said. "It opens up a large portion of the 316 corridor to high-tech development."

County commissioners voted Jan. 10 to increase sewer tap fees from $3,500 to $4,500 to help defray the costs of the project.