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City dedicates treatment plant to former council member

Staff Photo: Jason Braverman. Lawrenceville Mayor Judy Johnson surprises former City Council member Mahlon Burson by dedicating the new Water Treatment Plant to him during a ceremony on Friday.

Staff Photo: Jason Braverman. Lawrenceville Mayor Judy Johnson surprises former City Council member Mahlon Burson by dedicating the new Water Treatment Plant to him during a ceremony on Friday.

LAWRENCEVILLE -- The city of Lawrenceville celebrated its new Water Treatment Plant on Friday morning, located on Winer Industrial Way, with a ribbon-cutting ceremony after dedicating the plant to former City Council member Mahlon Burson.

Burson, who has been a Lawrenceville resident for 63 years and served on the council for 26 years, was honored for his hard work and dedication to the city.

"I raise my right hand, as I've done before. I had no idea this was going to transpire," Burson said, adding that he still can't comprehend it.

Burson has been an advocate for the city's underground water supply for years. He wants to see Lawrenceville drift away from its dependence upon Gwinnett County's water supply, which comes from Lake Lanier.

Burson believes it is unfair for residents to pay retail on water and provide system upkeep.

The plant is scheduled to begin operation as soon as possible with three current wells in production, and four on the way.

The city hopes the plant will allow the city to be fully sustainable in the coming years with a production of 600,000 gallons of water per day. The plant has a 1 million gallon capacity.

"It's going to save money number one, by doing this," said Robert Paul, plant assistant superintendent. "It's cheaper to produce water, than it is to buy water. That's the big, big incentive for us to do this. Plus, we're sitting on a huge reservoir of underground water in Lawrenceville in general and it's smart of us to tap that resource. It's to supplement our supply to the city at a reasonable deal."

Mayor Judy Johnson said she believes the plant is a step toward an improved water situation throughout Gwinnett County and the state.

"Hopefully, eventually we will not be dependent on Gwinnett County totally, and that could possibly mean a reduction in water rates for our residents, but that's something in the future," Johnson said.

Following the ribbon- cutting ceremony, Burson started the plant's system and the crowd was offered tours.