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Bryan County to own two wells in Bulloch County
Hyundai logo

By Al Hackle, Statesboro Herald

The Bulloch County Board of Commissioners has contracted to buy two acres of land on Old Highway 46 as the proposed site for one of four large wells intended to supply water to Hyundai Motor Group’s massive Meta Plant America.

Bulloch County is expected to own two wells and Bryan County to own the other two wells to furnish water to the $5.54 billion electric vehicle and battery manufacturing complex, projected to open in the first half of 2025 and eventually employ 8,100 people.

Although the plant is under construction in Black Creek a little over five miles from the Bulloch County line, Bulloch is expected to host all four wells, including the two that Bryan County will own.

So far, Bryan County officials have not confirmed any well sites their county will own in neighboring Bulloch.

Matthew Kent, communications manager for the Bryan County government, said in an email Friday that it is also his understanding that Bryan County will own two wells within Bulloch County, with Bulloch to own the other two.

Couch commented that Bryan County officials may be doing “some prospecting (of)their own,” for sites. The regulatory reason for Bryan County’s pair of wells to be drilled in Bulloch stems from coastal saltwater intrusions into the Floridan aquifer, the source of deep-well water to much of southern Georgia. Because of these intrusions, the Georgia Environmental Protection Division has long included Bryan County in a “yellow zone” with restrictions on new wells and goals of reducing total groundwater withdrawals.

Also for this reason but unrelated to the Hyundai development, the city of Pembroke, in northern Bryan County, already owns a well in southern Bulloch, withdrawing water under an intergovernmental agreement first signed in 2017.

The four wells to be owned by Bulloch Bryan counties are expected to supply 1.5 million gallons of water per day to the Hyundai plant. Last summer Couch and other Bulloch County staff members set out a projection of $22.6 million in infrastructure spending to provide water and sewer service to future homes in southeastern Bulloch as well as to the Hyundai plant.

County officials earmarked federal American Rescue Plan Act, or ARPA, money for about half of the costs.

Hyundai and other customers would pay for the water they use, and Couch has suggested that Bryan County would pay a “host fee” for its wells in Bulloch.

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