AUBURN - A sewer project originally intended to bring service to a proposed Super Ingles in Auburn is online, and local businesses have already begun using the pump station.
The project allows businesses along Atlanta Highway in Auburn to connect to sewer from CVS to Ingles. That means more land will be available for development, Barrow County Commissioner David Dyer said.
"You have people who want lots, but once you have a septic field, there's no room for the building and parking," he said. "Now, there's usable property. That wouldn't have happened without sewer."
Businesses that have connected to sewer have additional room for expansion, and Public Works Director Terry Darragh said CVS plans to sell property for further construction.
Some funds for the project were provided by a grant from the state's Department of Community Affairs that was received in anticipation of construction of a new Super Ingles similar to one that recently opened in Winder.
When that business fell through, commissioners were afraid they might lose the grant. But others took advantage of the sewer line, providing more jobs in the area.
"It provided a community seed," Darragh said.
The pump station, which is capable of handling 100 gallons a minute, is one tenth the size of a station at the intersection of Ga. Highways 81 and 316 that provides sewer service to The Home Depot. The Auburn station moves waste from an Autry Road pump station to the county's Tanner's Bridge treatment plant.
The county is also working on getting sewer service to the Ga. Highway 211 corridor, through a partnership with Winder, and Ga. Highways 316 and 53, where the Industrial Business Authority is readying a site.
Darragh said the county is closer than it ever has been to getting a residential sewer into the city and expand service further downtown. This project has been in the works since 2003.
James Abraham, Auburn's city planer, said there may even be some activity at the Super Ingles location. The city just issued a clearing permit for the land, which is still owned by Ingles, though the store's headquarters won't decide whether to build there until September.
The entire sewer project cost $600,000, Darragh said.
"We're just excited about it being done," he said.