County expanding sewer service
by SARAH FAY CAMPBELL
The Coweta County Water and Sewerage Authority will be running a sewer line to serve Poplar Road Elementary School and East Coweta High School, thereby opening large swaths of commercial and industrial property to sewer service.
That project comes on the heels of the authority’s sewer line extension to Hwy. 16 East near Interstate 85, mostly along the route of the proposed extension of the Newnan Bypass.
That project is almost complete.
“All the manholes are set, all the lines are in right now,” said Construction Manager Rick Jones. “They are just working on punch list stuff” and doing some other work that was leftover, such as landscaping that couldn’t be done earlier because the ground was too wet.
The 14,550-foot sewer line will serve the East Newnan area and the area along the proposed Bypass extension. It ends at Hwy. 16 near East Gordon Road.
If property owners along U.S. 29 South at Interstate 85 want to get sewer service, they’ll have to pay for the line to be run extending from its current terminus to their business.
Authority staff has contacted the nearby property owners to gauge their interest but haven’t received any firm commitments.
The authority recently mailed letters to all the owners of commercial and industrial property along the proposed line to serve the schools letting them know that sewer service might become available. Property owners along U.S. 29 were sent identical letters.
Sixty letters were sent. “We thought it was kind of encouraging to see that, along those two areas, there are 60 people we can serve,” said authority CEO Jay Boren.
The authority can only provide sewer to non-residential customers, under an agreement with Coweta County.
The letters were mailed last week and “we haven’t seen any feedback,” Boren said.
The letter states that the authority is “in the beginning stages of expanding sewer service in the area of E. Highway 16” and tells the property owners if service is provided to their area and they are interested, they should call.
Boren said that once the Bypass/Hwy. 16 line is totally complete, they will probably get in touch with neighboring property owners again. That sewer line runs through undeveloped property.
Under the agreement with the school system, the authority will build the sewer line and the school system will pay $2.5 million for the project.
The school system will have “exclusive right to market and procure connections of the adjacent property,” according to the agreement.
Other property owners who wish to tie onto the new sewer line will be required to pay a fee of $17 for every “gallon per day” in capacity they would need, to help cover the cost of extending the line. That fee would no longer be charged five years after the line is installed. The fee, which the authority would collect and then remit to the school system, is similar to the capacity fee that helped fund the sewer lines that serve the Thomas Crossroads area.
Even though the school system officially has the right to market the sewer line, “they told us they don’t want to get into the sewer business,” Boren said.
“I think they are going to trust that we are going” to bring in customers. “We sent those letters out because we want to be proactive,” he said.
The Poplar Road/ECHS line will run from the Shenandoah Wastewater Treatment Plant on Poplar Road down Poplar, along Hwy. 16 East, and up Old Highway 16 to ECHS.
The agreement was approved by the Coweta County Board of Education in May.
When a school is built without public sewer, there has to be a lot of land set aside for the septic system and drain field, said Authority Chairman Neal Shepard.
When a school is able to tap onto the sewer system “we free up the land that they have already paid a lot of money for by removing the drain fields,” Shepard said. “Then they have land that is of tremendous value to them. So they have been good partners,” he said.
The authority and school system had previously entered into an agreement to provide sewer service to proposed new schools on Corinth Road. That school project has been delayed, so no work on the sewer line has been done.