City Gets Update on Ward Creek Project

A project designed to try to solve sewer overflows at the Ward Creek Lift Station is on hold temporarily while issues are resolved.

City commissioners received an update on the project Monday.

Plans are to install a secondary sewer line to help with the flow of wastewater from the Ward Creek Lift Station to help prevent sewer overflows that happen because of inflow and infiltration into the system during periods of heavy rain.

Toccoa City Manager Billy Morse said that the city had expected to open bids Monday for the project.

However, Morse said a couple of issues arose that needed to be cleared up.

Those involve getting easements to do the work, and funding for the project.

Alex Wiseman from Carter and Sloope, the engineering firm working with the city on this project, said they have encountered an issue with the planned route for the secondary sewer line.

“We are paralleling the existing sewer line,” said Wiseman of the new line. “Best we can tell, that first main was installed before statewide buffers were implemented so it is oftentimes within 10 feet of the creek bank and there is no way the EPD will let us that close again.”

As a result, the city will have to acquire easements for the line.

Also, Wiseman said that construction costs for the project have gone up from the initial estimates.

“Construction costs went up by about $130,000,” said Wiseman.

The result is a project that could now surpass $900,000 in total cost before all is said and done, according to current estimates from engineers.

Toccoa has more than a half million dollars in SPLOST money set aside for this project.

City officials said they will explore other sources of funding for the project, including but not limited to getting money from the Georgia Environmental Finance Authority.