Lake pipeline moving forward

LAWRENCEVILLE - Commissioners today will consider condemning three parcels of land for easements for a pipeline to carry treated wastewater to Lake Lanier, a sign that construction will begin soon on the controversial project.

"We're positioning ourselves for construction," said Lynn Smarr, assistant director of the Gwinnett Department of Water Resources.

Officials are still waiting on final approval from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers following a compromise to a six-year court battle.

But Smarr said she hoped to pick a contractor for the nine-mile pipeline by the end of the year.

The $45 million project will allow wastewater treated at the Buford-area F. Wayne Hill Water Resources Center to be returned to the county's main drinking water source to help ensure the lake's viability during times of drought, officials have said.

Joel Twilley, land acquisition supervisor for the Gwinnett Department of Water Resources, said the owners are in disputes with the county over pricing. The county estimates the cost of all three to be $169,276.

Of the 129 easements needed for the project, Twilley expects less than 10 to go through the condemnation process.