Photo by Corinne Nicholson

Photo by Corinne Nicholson

COVINGTON -- Newton County has been approved for a $3 million Georgia Fund loan to finance expansion of the county's municipal solid waste landfill.

The county will pay 3.81 percent interest on the 20-year loan. The total project cost is $4 million, with $3 million financing Phase I and $1 million funding Phase II. Construction is expected to begin soon on the third cell at the landfill, with the project to be completed in early 2011, according to Administrative Officer John Middleton.

The cell will be 1.5 million cubic yards and is expected to have a lifespan of eight to 10 years, depending on volume. One cell at the landfill is already full while the other is close to full, Middleton said.

"This is a revolving loan program for these types of facilities. We've utilized this before for water lines and other projects. It's a low-interest loan specifically set up for the purpose of these types of projects," Middleton said.

The Georgia Fund loan for Newton County was one of six environmental infrastructure projects totaling $11.5 million announced by Gov. Sonny Perdue earlier this week.

The Georgia Fund is a state-funded program administered by GEFA for water, wastewater and solid waste infrastructure projects.

"GEFA financing for water, sewer and solid waste infrastructure helps communities in all areas of the state," said Gerald Thompson, chairman of the GEFA board of directors and mayor of the city of Fitzgerald. "The projects that we agreed to finance today demonstrate that GEFA is investing in communities that are willing to invest in themselves."