The new clear well, which will accommodate water flowing from a new intake under construction at nearby Big Springs, will allow the Brittany Drive plant to process up to 11.8 million gallons per day, Cornwell said. Currently, the Brittany Drive plant processes about 5.8 million gallons each day, up from just 1 million per day when the original well was drilled in 1999.
The Big Springs intake sits on about 100 acres of city-owned property. The water at Big Springs runs unusually clear. Even in rainy weather, Cornwell said he has “never seen it even dingy.”
People in this area have been drinking water from this spring for hundreds of years.
“It’s a wonderful water source,” he said.
Four giant filtering vessels at the Brittany Drive treatment plant clean the water forced through them before it is stored in the existing clear well, where it is chlorinated. Water leaving the plant must measure at a level lower than .03 NTU (Nephelometric Turbidity Units), Cornwell said.
Turbidity refers to the haziness caused by suspended solids in water. Most of the water coming into the Brittany Drive facility measures at such a level before it even reaches the filters, he said.
Ahead of the curve
The addition of the new clear and wet wells and their accompanying infrastructure, he said, will happen over a three-year period. This is a SPLOST-funded project, he explained, so the city will proceed as SPLOST money is available.
The entire project, including the filtration infrastructure for the clear well, should total around $2.5 million, he said. The wet well, which the county bid out in early summer, has an approximately $600,000 price tag.
The city still uses its Mauldin Road Plant to serve the largest portion of the city, downtown and the industrial corridor. The Mauldin Plant processes water from the Coosawattee River — also “a relatively clean water source,” according to Cornwell.
The Big Springs/ Brittany Drive plant will eventually serve outlying areas like Hill City, Resaca and Plainville.
When the new treatment facility is complete, he said, the city will have the ability to treat nearly 30 million gallons per day using both its plants. Current typical usage comes to about 10 million gallons per day, he said.
The extra capacity may look like overkill now, but by staying ahead of the game, Cornwell said he hopes to avoid the water shortage situation Atlanta has experienced in recent years.
Preparing the community for growth with proper water capacity is essential, he said. He de-scribed the process of working to make sure Calhoun and Gordon County are prepared for popula-tion growth 20 to 30 years from now as “one of the bright spots of my career.”