Expansion beginning
BOC awards contract for treatment plant

COVINGTON - A $12 million expansion of the Cornish Creek Water Treatment Plant will soon get under way.

County commissioners awarded the construction contract to Choate Construction Company of Atlanta on Tuesday night. Choate was the low bidder of five proposals received for the project, which will increase the plant's capacity by 10 million gallons per day.

The expansion includes building a new raw water pumping station, clarifiers, a filter building, a new clearwell and a high service pumping station.

Currently, the plant has a capacity of 15 million gallons per day. The expansion will increase that to 25 million gallons per day, according to Jim Mathis, president of Infratec Consultants Inc., the county's consultant on the project. Construction is expected to take 15 months to complete.

Revenue bonds were issued for the project in 2004.

"At that time, there was pretty fast growth and water demand. Last summer, the demands were down because of the extreme water restrictions," Mathis said.

Demand peaked at 14.5 million gallons per day in June 2006. In May 2007, demand peaked at 14 million gallons per day, he said.

Walton County will pay 25 percent of the project cost and will be entitled to 25 percent of capacity, he said.

Plans are to reduce the number of days of operation of the Williams Street Treatment Plant in the city of Covington. It costs more per gallon to operate that plant and improvements to the piping system no longer necessitate as much use, Mathis said. The Williams Street plant has a capacity of 4.5 million gallons per day.

Crystal Tatum can be reached at crystal.tatum@newtoncitizen.com.