Local Officials Get Update on Sewer Project Design

Steve Cawood from Goodwyn, Mills, and Cawood speaks to local officials Monday

Local officials receive an update on the design of a potential sewer expansion project in Stephens County.

Monday, officials from Toccoa, Stephens County, and other agencies gathered at the city commission work session to hear from Goodwyn, Mills, and Cawood on its work so far.

That firm was tasked in November with designing wastewater system enhancements for areas such as Big A Road and the Toccoa By-pass, as well as south into other industrial areas of the county.

Steve Cawood with Goodwyn, Mills, and Cawood said that designing sewer lines for Big A Road between Rose Lane and the Toccoa By-pass intersection proved very challenging because of the layout of the road.

“Whoever laid out that road did exactly what you are supposed to do,” said Cawood. “When you lay it out, you are supposed to lay it out on a ridge. That’s great for a road, not great for a gravity sewer system.”

The design presented Monday included about $4.36 million in sewer improvements for Big A Road between Rose Lane and the Toccoa By-pass, as well as the By-pass between Big A Road and a location near the intersection of the By-pass and Highway 106. In conjunction with that, the design estimates included $1.2 million in associated water system improvements that would be required.

According to Cawood, that total of around $5.5 million would not complete the project, but would provide the ability for the city to get sewer service to a property along those corridors quickly as needed for potential development.

“In economic development channels, economic developers like to have water and sewer access within a 90-day timeframe,” said Cawood. “This (design) does that.”

Officials then brought up the funding issue.

Stephens County and the city of Toccoa have each set aside $1 million out of SPLOST V receipts, for a total of $2 million, towards this project. That $2 million was a local match designed to obtain $8 million in additional federal funding to help build the entire project. While the $8 million was approved, it was never appropriated.

$200,000 of that SPLOST money was spent to hire Goodwyn, Mills, and Cawood, leaving about $1.8 million.

Former Stephens County Commissioner Jonesy Haygood said that the city and county should look at including this in the next proposed SPLOST to come up with additional funding to make the improvements.

“All we have to do is the city put in a portion of what they get from SPLOST and the county put in a portion of what they get from SPLOST and we have the money,” said Haygood.”

No decisions were made Monday.

Goodwyn, Mills, and Cawood said that it is still working on the Preliminary Engineering Report on the project, adding that it wanted to update officials now to make sure the firm was heading in the right direction. According to officials, that report will provide different options for the project and help local officials pursue funding alternatives.