Genesis Point’s sewage treatment facility took another step toward reality, thanks to the unanimously approved bid at the county commissioners meeting on July 10.
Before the proposal began, Commissioner Ed Bacon took a moment to read his motion on why he approves of the Sewer and Water Ordinance, which would result in the immediate establishment of a water/wastewater utility department.
"Cities allow high density development to maximize their water and wastewater usage to attract development. For ten years, the county commissioners have had a goal to develop a county-wide water and sewer utility system," Bacon said.
The goal has now been set into action.
Holmes Bell of Hussey, Gay, Bell & DeYoung presented plans for the Wastewater Treatment Facility for South Bryan County. The initial plan for Phase I at Genesis Point will cost $1.8 million, with three additional phases planned for future expansion of the project.
The system is made of three-cells with a 2.4 million gallon extended aeration pond, Bell explained. The facility will be able to treat up to 200,000 gallons per day. In the event of a natural disaster, the cell’s storage capacity will last 12 days.
When Phase I reaches 75 percent capacity, Phase II will begin, and so forth. The plan will ultimately become a "regional Bryan County wastewater treatment facility," Bell said.
Bacon expressed his concern, pointing out the importance of continuously evaluating the system to ensure its maintenance upkeep. Bell agreed, saying, "We will certainly have a manual for the operation and maintenance of this."
Bell said that out of the five bids received for the project on June 28, Southern Champion is currently the lowest. Bell said that this bid is significantly smaller than some of the others because "Southern Champion is primarily a water/sewer company."
The company would be responsible for not only doing the piping, but also the plan’s irrigation system. Bell said that Southern Champion feels "very confident about the work."
The second bid proposed at the meeting was for an artificial grass soccer/football field.
Pratt Lockwood, Recreation Director for the county, has researched companies in the area that provide the product. At the meeting, he discussed potential addition and deduction costs for the field.
He pointed out the optional warm-up field, saying it would be useful but is not necessary. Without it, the total cost of the project will be $1.26 million. There is a performance bond on the contract to ensure it will be completed from start to finish.
Funding for the project will come out of the county’s special-purpose local-option sales tax. "We have made arrangements to borrow the money against our SPLOST funds, which will be paying back the loan," said Commissioner Toby Roberts.
"Just to make the community aware, this is the same thing we did when we bought our new firetrucks," Roberts explained. "Instead of waiting to collect the money for each individual truck and buying them one at a time, we borrowed the money and bought them all at once for the county. So, this is not an uncommon practice by this board."
"All three fields that we looked at-these things are really phenomenal. They’re a whole different breed of artificial grass," said Lockwood of what he had seen on other fields.
He went on to explain why certain cost corners weren’t worth cutting. South Carolina State’s stadium was done by one of the bidders, Rock Hill. At first, the school did not put the optional concrete border which is used to help stretch and conform the turf to the ground.
"They didn’t put it in originally, they thought they’d save a little bit of money and not put it in," Lockwood said. "And then they had to come back and do it, and you could tell they had done that. But the turf itself looked really good."
One college trainer from South Carolina told Lockwood that the turf is warmer than regular grass; some research has estimated that it can be up to 20 degrees hotter. Lockwood said that the research is limited and therefore not entirely reliable; also pointing out that instead of playing mid-day, practices would be held later in the afternoon. He also said for an additional cost of $106,000, new material called "mondo ocofill" could be used to keep the field temperatures lower. His general recommendation for the material was that it was unnecessary.
As far as the cost of the project, Lockwood estimates that the county will break even by the time the turf’s eight year warrantee runs out. According to him, the bidding companies have estimated that it could take 10-15 years before the turf will need any work.
After the first eight years, Lockwood said the county will truly start saving money because the base for the field has "already been laid down."
"Yes, you might have to touch up a little place," Lockwood admitted, "but you’re going to be able to put this field down for a third of what you’re doing now. And the next eight years after that, you’re going to be saving substantial money."
Lockwood noted the environmental bonuses that there will no longer be the need for fertilizers or watering. This is not just a field, but "one complete system," he said. The turf does not require any prepping between one game and the next, with the field being ready as soon as the players are.
Lockwood ended by promising the commissioners that by next month’s meeting, he will have the full detail on other field projects, such as the baseball field.
The bid for the artificial field was unanimously approved by the commissioners. According to Roberts, the project should commence within the next 30 to 60 days. "We hope to be able to play on the field for this upcoming soccer season," he said.