Construction on Paulding County’s new drinking water source recently passed some major construction milestones on its way to an anticipated completion in a few months.
Project Manager Kelly Comstock of Brown & Caldwell engineer firm gave a quarterly update about the Richland Creek Reservoir and Water Supply Program to the Paulding County Board of Commissioners Oct. 22.
He said officials recently reached some key milestones on the $215 million project in north Paulding County, including completion of a pumping system to draw raw water from the Etowah River and the “topping out” of the dam that will be used to create and hold water in the reservoir, Comstock said.
Workers completed a process to move a total of 2.6 million cubic yards of soil to create the dam. They are now building an access road across its top, he said.
The Georgia Environmental Protection Division also has done an initial inspection of the earthen structure which allowed project officials to test a gate used to halt water flow through the dam, he said.
“Everything’s on track for the dam, the primary outlet structure, to be available in December to when we’re able to start pumping water in,” Comstock said.
After the EPD’s final inspection, the filling process can begin and take about a month or so to fill the reservoir to the required depth the pump station needs to pull raw water from it.
“It will be awhile before the reservoir is completely full,” Comstock told county commissioners.
He referred to an aerial photo of a pump station nearing completion on the Etowah River in southern Bartow County near Cartersville Airport for another milestone in construction.
“We’ve actually placed the final concrete associated with the overall program,” Comstock said.
“We’ve got screens that are submerged within the river bottom that allow flow to go through large pipes into that (pump station) that you see is under construction.”
He said a wet well 40 feet below the station is collecting water which will be pumped 3-1/2 miles south to the future reservoir.
In addition, Georgia Power will provide electricity to operate the facility and project engineers are “tracking that very closely” that the utility will have its infrastructure energized to allow it to begin pumping water by early December, he said.
Richland Creek will include a new 125-foot dam; 315-acre reservoir designed to store up to 3 billion gallons of raw water; water treatment plant; two major pump stations and raw water intakes; and 11 miles of pipeline to connect to the existing water system for service throughout the county.
Construction began on the reservoir project in late 2016. Funding is coming from state grants, low interest loans provided by the Georgia Environmental Finance Authority (GEFA), and county revenue bonds repaid by water department customers.
It is planned to replace Cobb County-Marietta Water Authority as Paulding’s primary source of drinking water, though the county will continue to buy about 30% of its water from its former provider.
In addition, a new county park is planned near the entrance to the reservoir area off Cartersville Highway near the Bartow County line.
The public will have access to the reservoir for recreation, though motorized craft will be prohibited, officials have said.