Construction of Fayette's Lake McIntosh reservoir proceeds

By SARAH FAY CAMPBELL sarah@newnan.com Construction of Lake McIntosh, a Fayette County water reservoir that straddles the Coweta/Fayette county line, is in full swing. The contractor, Brad Cole Construction, began work on the dam in January 2010 and has another year left to go, said Tony Parrott, director of the Fayette County Water System.
Though it will be a drinking water reservoir for Fayette County, the vast majority of the lake's 650 acres are actually in Coweta County. According to Coweta Tax Records, 550 acres are in Coweta. The lake site follows Line Creek between the Line Creek Nature Center and TDK Boulevard. Though the damming of the creek shouldn't affect stream flow through the nature center, the county will have to relocate a portion of a nature trail, Parrott said. The damming of the creek will result in some changes to the flood plain in the area, and will require new flood plain map amendments. Documents related to those amendments were approved by the Coweta County Board of Commissioners in October 2009. In addition to construction of the dam, building the reservoir includes clearing trees and stumps from the lake bed. The marketable timber has already been sold; any remaining debris will be burned. Because Peachtree City ordinances do not allow the burning of such debris, all the burning will have to take place on property that is in Coweta County. Burning was set to begin in early December. Parrott said he does not know the exact schedule for when the burning will take place, but expects it to continue off and on for the next several months. Georgia's burn season runs from Oct. 1 to April 30. Once the lake construction is complete, it may take two years -- or longer -- for the lake to fill, depending on weather conditions. Fayette County is required to maintain certain stream flows in Line Creek below the dam, and can only retain water over those flows. Fayette County has an existing permit to pull water out of Line Creek, and plans are to continue operating with that permit, Parrott said. The pump station on the creek had to be turned off during construction but "we'll go back to pumping once they finish," Parrott said. Several years ago, plans for a proposed extension of TDK Boulevard, which would tie into McIntosh Trail in Coweta, had the extension going across the dam. But plans were changed to have a bridge built below the dam. Either way, Peachtree City's city council voted a few years ago to kill the road project. The extension would have been called Vernon Hunter Parkway in Coweta. The Lake McIntosh project has been a long time coming. The area along Line Creek was first considered for a drinking water reservoir in the 1960s. Developers abandoned those plans when they encountered difficulty acquiring land. Fayette County itself has been trying to build the lake since 1977. "Problems acquiring portions of the site, efforts to overcome objections from environmental and concerned citizens' groups and finally, compliance with state and federal regulations made the prospect of building Lake McIntosh seem uncertain at times," said the groundbreaking announcement released by the Fayette County Board of Commissioners last January. "Because of delays and problems, Lake Kedron and Lake Horton, both drinking water reservoirs, have been built since work on the Lake McIntosh project was first initiated," officials said.


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