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Hearings to focus on sewage tunnel project

LAWRENCEVILLE - Residents of southern Gwinnett could soon feel the earth shake, but instead of a loud siren to warn them, officials will hold two public hearings.

The shocks could come from a $54 million sewage tunnel project, which will be under construction beginning this summer.

The three-mile, 12-foot diameter tunnel 200 feet below the surface is designed to connect the county's Jacks Creek sewage treatment plant with the now-defunct No Business Creek plant site.

When the project is complete in 2010, the Jacks Creek plant will close, and south Gwinnett's sewage will be pumped to the F. Wayne Hill Water Resources Center in Buford for treatment.

Officials say the tunnel is an environmentally sound way to manage wastewater, while fulfilling the county's goal of closing smaller, less-efficient treatment plants.

While the tunnel mostly follows the route of Springdale/Everson Road, residents may feel a low rumble as the tunnel is drilled through rock, officials said.

"This is some of the original area of the county that had sewer but only a very limited capacity. So this is about keeping pace with development and redevelopment in the area," Water Resources Director Frank Stephens said when the project was approved in March. "Tunnels may be a part of our long-range solution" for sewer in Gwinnett County.

Residents interested in the project can meet with county staff and contractors from 7 to 8:30 p.m. today and Thursday at the Centerville Community Center or visit the Web site at www.nobusinesscreek.com.