The timing could not have been better
for the Henry County Water & Sewerage Authority (HCWSA) to put its new 13-million gal per day (mgd) Tussahaw Reservoir and Water Treatment Facility online as the state of Georgia recently declared drought conditions throughout the state.
The Tussahaw Water Facility treats surface water gathered in the adjoining 1,466-acre Tussahaw Reservoir in order to distribute clean, safe drinking water to the area’s 50,000 customers for the next 20 years. The reservoir contains more than 500 acres in wetlands mitigation in addition to a designated fishery. The reservoir is located on Tussahaw Creek, at the confluence of Peeksville Creek and Malholms Creek, in Henry and Butts Counties.
The HCWSA reported that since 1969, the Tussahaw Creek has been recognized as having the best water quality possible, and thus constituted the best site for constructing the necessary raw water treatment resources for the region.
Compounding the need for new water treatment was the fact that Henry County is one of Georgia’s fastest growing counties; however, there was a time in 2003 when it appeared that the construction of the Tussahaw Reservoir was in jeopardy. Civil action by environmental groups included three motions for a preliminary injunction, a temporary restraining order and a summary judgment regarding a permit issued by the U.S. Army Corps Engineers to the HCWSA for construction of the Tussahaw Reservoir. Eventually, the motions filed by the plaintiffs—the Georgia River Network and the Altamaha Riverkeepers—were overturned because it was determined that the Tussahaw location was the safest, most feasible and cost-effective alternative for expanding the raw water resources of the region.
Design and layout
Due to the precise design and layout of the Tussahaw Water Treatment Facility, the HCWSA is able to maximize operator accessibility to all processes and equipment while minimizing the costs associated with water production.
HCWSA’s primary consultant engineering firm, Stantec, provided the conceptual design and layout of the entire Tussahaw facility.
“The Tussahaw facility was designed with optimal operational efficiency, functionality and ease of maintenance in mind,” said Garry Garretson, managing principal and project manager with Stantec. “We are so proud to be a part of this significant milestone in the history of HCWSA.”
Additionally, the plant meets or exceeds current regulatory requirements for water production and public water utilities. The treatment plant also provides system integration and control between the other HCWSA two water treatment plants, and throughout the distribution network.
According to HCWSA officials, the treatment plant includes a mixed oxidant disinfection system manufactured by MIOX Corp. The disinfection system is an alternative to chlorine gas or bulk hypochlorite; it pushes salt, water and power through an electrolytic cell to generate chlorine-based hypochlorite or mixed oxidants on site and on demand. This method of drinking water disinfection eliminates the storage, transport and production of potentially hazardous chemicals, thereby reducing the risk associated with more conventional water treatment facilities.
Additional equipment within the Tussahaw Water Treatment Facility includes SCADA, instrumentation and security systems from Revere Control Systems, Inc. as well as the plant’s filtration system provided by F.B. Leopold Co. David Whiton, division manager of water production and distribution for the HCWSA, said, “The facility was built for approximately $2.21 per gallon of production capacity, which is $1 to $2 per gallon less than the typical construction price tag for a comparable facility.”
Even though the Tussahaw Water Treatment Facility has only been online for a short time, plant officials are already looking toward the future. Should the HCWSA need to expand the plant, the facility’s equipment and infrastructure has been designed to accommodate an additional 13 mgd (for a total of 26 mgd) in drinking water capacity as part of the HCWSA’s Phase II plan for the treatment plant.
“We are obviously very proud of the Tussahaw Reservoir and Plant, as this project is arguably one of the most critical to date within our long range master plan,” said Lindy Farmer, general manager of the HCWSA. “It has been many years in the making and our customers and the community will hopefully benefit from its use for many years to come.”