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Work to begin on water pipeline

LAWRENCEVILLE - Construction will soon begin under Lake Lanier in Gwinnett's project to release treated wastewater back into the lake.

"We are taking care of our future water supply," Chairman Charles Bannister said of a $25 million contract approved Tuesday to continue the nine-mile pipeline into the lake and the diffuser to release it.

County officials have worked for years to return water to the lake, which is also the main drinking water supplier for Gwinnett's 750,000 residents. Releases of up to 40 million gallons a day will begin in 2009.

After Tuesday's approval, though, an attorney for a subcontractor asked commissioners to reconsider the bid award. He said the county threw out a lower bid because the subcontractor did not meet a requirement of being in business for more than five years. The attorney said that policy is anti-competitive.

Also Tuesday, commissioners tabled a decision on a proposed audit service for contractors. The audits would determine if contractors violated the county's policy by hiring illegal immigrants.

Since late last year, the policy has been only hold because of a federal lawsuit.