Construction done on south Gwinnett sewage pipeline

SNELLVILLE -- A tunnel underneath southern Gwinnett is complete, and sewage could soon travel through the rock.

Construction began in 2007 for the three-mile pipeline, which connects the former No Business Creek water treatment plant to the Jacks Creek sewage treatment plant. When a lift station designed to pump the sewage to the F. Wayne Hill Water Resources Center in Buford, the county's older plant will be closed.

The project cost $2 million more than its anticipated $54 million price tag, according to a change order approved by commissioners last week.

"It was significant in what we found. We expected to find good, strong rock material," Acting Water Resources Director Lynn Smarr said.

While the majority of southern Gwinnett is built on the granite that encompasses Stone Mountain, construction crews also encountered some soft rock, Smarr said, which created a fall out zone in one part of the bored tunnel.

"You have to make repairs to make the tunnel," she said.

Smarr said one of the advantages of consolidating sewage water treatment at the Hill center is so the water can be returned to Lake Lanier, through another recently completed tunnel project.

"The project is one of several that will allow Gwinnett County to reduce the number of aging wastewater treatment plants and increase the return of water to the Chattahoochee basin after advanced treatment at the F. Wayne Hill Water Resources Center," Smarr said.