Lawrenceville to hold hearings on well plans

LAWRENCEVILLE - Lawrenceville's plan to open city wells to decrease dependence on dwindling Lake Lanier will be under scrutiny this week.

City officials have scheduled the first of two hearings for Thursday to explain a plan to rid one well of uranium and three more of radium, potentially harmful radioactive materials.

"I won't allow anything to be in the water that I won't let my grandchildren drink," Mayor Rex Millsaps said. "The public should be assured that it's safe."

Millsaps began working on a plan in January to reopen as many as 14 old city wells because of a potential boost in the cost of using county water. But the situation has become more critical since a historic drought this year has caused concerns over the drop in water levels at Lake Lanier, the supplier of the county water system.

Millsaps said the first well could reopen within 90 days, depending on how quickly pipes can be put in place to connect the well to the city's treatment plant at Rhodes Jordan Park. That well would provide 144,000 gallons of water a day.

The entire well project could cost about $5 million, although some of the costs of treating the uranium- and radium-contaminated water have not been determined. Millsaps said the contamination occurred naturally, possibly because of the granite in Georgia's topography.

When the well project is complete, it could provide 1.6 million gallons a day, or about 65 percent of the usage of Lawrenceville's 5,600 water customers.

Residents can learn details about the plan, including the proposal to treat the pollutants, at a 6 p.m. hearing in the City Council chambers. A second hearing has been scheduled for 6 p.m. Dec. 13.