COVINGTON — The Newton County Water and Sewerage Authority is taking steps to increase wastewater treatment capacity in preparation for future development at Stanton Springs.
The NCWSA has been awarded a $25 million, low-interest loan for construction of a wastewater treatment plant at Stanton Springs. The 30-year, 1.93 percent loan comes from the Clean Water State Revolving Fund administered by the Georgia Environmental Finance Authority.
NCWSA Director Mike Hopkins said Tuesday the loan will fund construction of a treatment plant that will have an initial capacity of 1.25 million gallons per day. The treated water will be discharged into the Little River.
Hopkins said Stanton Springs already has wastewater treatment service through a conveyance system that uses pump stations and force mains to transfer wastewater to the Yellow River Plant in Porterdale for treatment. The addition of the Little River plant will increase wastewater treatment capacity for Stanton Springs to more than 3 mgd, and could ultimately go to 4 mgd, said Hopkins.
The current treatment capacity is sufficient to meet the needs of biopharma manufacturer Shire and the future needs of the Newton Facebook Data Center at Stanton Springs, said Hopkins. But authority members felt now was the right time to secure the GEFA loan before interest rates increase. Construction of the new plant is expected to take four years.
The plant will be built on 17 acres inside Stanton Springs. The acreage is part of a larger wooded tract of 116 acres that the NCWSA purchased in 2004 to preserve the headwaters of the Little River, said Hopkins.
Hopkins said the Little River plant was first discussed in 2012 when Shire (formerly Baxter) announced its move to Stanton Springs. At that time, it was determined that Shire would need service sooner than a new plant could be put into service, so the decision was made to go to the conveyance system.
Hopkins said the new plant will be put out to bid in late spring or early summer.
Shane Short, economic developer for Stanton Springs, said the NCWSA is looking ahead to meet future needs at the industrial park.
“We are in a high growth region in the state, and some of the industries that we have seen locate here, and some we have seen express an interest here, are sometimes high water users,” said Short. “We’ve seen a number of industries that could use 1 mgd, so I think the Newton County Water and Sewerage Authority is being proactive rather than reactive to the future needs of our industries. I also think there is going to be more residential growth as we grow our industries in the area.
“I think their move was a positive move, and I won’t be surprised if we are able to absorb a lot of that new capacity,” Short added.