GOOD HOPE — Growth at Good Hope is pushing the city’s sewer treatment system closer to its designated limit, leading officials to contemplate what’s likely to become a significant investment to expand the system’s capacity.
At the city’s regular council meeting Monday, treatment plant operating contractor Living Water Services asked the council to consider placing two items in next year’s city budget that, according to Living Water’s Grady Parsons, would address both immediate needs and longer-term growth.
One of those items is am $18,000 permit modification with the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) that would assure Good Hope remains in compliance with ADEM treatment capacity requirements while it develops an engineering and financing plan to upgrade its treatment plant. The other calls for $175,000 to be spent on the engineering and design itself — a process that’s likely to take several months.
Parsons told the council the city’s sewer treatment flow has hit unprecedented levels in recent months, continuing a trend he says began around 2017. “Our flow over the past several years has gradually gone up, steadily from 2017 to 2019,” Parsons said, noting that this July’s treatment average of 200,000 gallons per day set a new record — one just shy of the city’s current ADEM-issued National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit of 225,000 gallons.
As Good Hope continues to see new residential growth, as well as what mayor Jerry Bartlett says is a surge in interest in commercial property along County Road 222, Living Water predicts it won’t be long before the city’s sewage treatment needs will exceed what the current facility is able to handle. The company is recommending that Good Hope expand the plant’s treatment capacity to 450,000 gallons per day, effectively doubling its permitted capacity.
Whatever steps the city takes to upgrade its treatment system, the project would only expand the treatment capacity of the plant itself, and not Good Hope’s current network of sewer lines. Any line expansions that might occur in coming years would be done under separate council measures and require their own financing plans. The council plans to take up the 2020-2021 fiscal year budget beginning with its next regular meeting, which is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on Sept. 28 at Good Hope City Hall.