New waste water treatment plant in Grovetown raises water bills

CSRA News

Back in 2017, Grovetown officials told NewsChannel 6 that in the coming years, residents will see a slight change in their water bills.

The time has finally come. They are building a new waste water treatment plant.

About two years ago, a Grovetown city employee pleaded guilty for theft from the utility department.

At the same time, the city was in the midst of paying off a loan for a water treatment plant that would keep Grovetown from relying on other counties for clean water.

The city found itself in a tough spot because of the crimes committed by former city employee Vicky Capetillo.

City Administrator, John Waller, says, “well, if the only way you get revenue in water and sewer is to raise the rates. We weren’t allowed to do that.”

Because of the legal settlement, the city was prohibited to raise their utility rates. So, the city implemented a waste water construction fee, which was tacked onto the water bill.

“We’re just paying off that loan from 20 years ago, and we just finished it, or are going to finish it this year, but now we have this new waste water treatment plant we are building,” says Waller.

By stair stepping the fee back to residents, the city made progress on paying for the 24 million dollar project.

“Here’s $5 and we did that for several months then we raised it to $10 and then $15 and now this month is now the final raise of the waste water treatment plant construction fee to $20,” says Waller.

The need for a new plant came into play when the Environmental Protection division realized their current plant wasn’t working properly.

“There was runoff into some of the tributaries surrounding the area and the Environmental Protection Division sais, you have to fix this or you’re going to face some significant fines. So, that was the spur, that was the impidice to get us to build a new plant,” says Waller.

In previous years, Grovetown water has been treated by Columbia County and Richmond County.

Once finished, the city will put in pump stations to reverse the flow to this new plant, something Waller says will make Grovetown more self-sufficient.

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