Sewage tunnel: Loan to fund project

LAWRENCEVILLE - A sewage tunnel under construction in southern Gwinnett got a funding boost last week, when the Georgia Environmental Facilities Authority approved a $23 million loan for the project.

The three-mile tunnel will allow county officials to close the Jacks Creek sewage treatment plant and complete a long-term project to close small plants throughout the county.

"It allows for continued development and even redevelopment in south Gwinnett," said George Kaffezakis of the county's Department of Water Resources.

An earlier $22 million loan will also help fund the $55 million project, Kaffezakis said.

Because the county is certified as a Water First community by Gov. Sonny Perdue, it qualifies for the low-interest loans, which Kaffezakis said is as cheap or cheaper than issuing bonds to pay for the project.

"Infrastructure improvements increase the quality of life for Georgia citizens, and they help cities and counties create jobs and promote economic development," Perdue said in a press release. "I'm pleased this investment is being made in sewer system infrastructure."

Construction on the tunnel began last July, and Kaffezakis said it should be complete in late 2009 or early 2010.