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Local firm accepts state award for Richmond Hills wastewater treatment plant
Richmond Hill Mayor Harold Fowler, second from right, and City Manager Chris Lovell stand with ACEC/Georgia Board of Directors Chair Charles Ezelle, left, Hussey Gay Bell PE and CEO G. Holmes Bell and Hussey Gay Bell principal PE Jennifer Oetgen. Hussey Gay Bell earned a state award this month for the citys new wastewater treatment plant. - photo by Provided

Local engineering and architectural firm Hussey Gay Bell was recently awarded a statewide American Council of Engineering Companies of Georgia (ACEC Georgia) award in the “Waste and Storm Water” category for their design of Richmond Hill’s new Sterling Creek Water Reclamation Facility project.

Hussey Gay Bell leaders, along with representatives from Richmond Hill, accepted the award at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre in Atlanta in front of more than 400 engineering, business and elected/appointed leaders.

“While this award was presented to Hussey Gay Bell, the city of Richmond Hill deserves a great deal of credit for being so forward-thinking about wastewater treatment needs and its direct ties to supporting the long-term growth of the city ,” said Hussey Gay Bell CEO G. Holmes Bell IV. “As the largest single expenditure in the city’s history, this project confronted highly complex challenges and embraced state-of-the-art technologies to provide the community with a renewable reuse of reclaimed water.”

The plant is able to treat up to 3 million gallons per day – double its previous capacity of 1.5 million gallons per day – and utilizes several steps in treating sewage, including biological treatment and solids separation via the membrane bioreactors.

Treated effluent from the new facility will be pumped to the city’s current outfall location at Elbow Swamp, as well as reused to sustain the isolated constructed wetlands system. According to a press release, this facility produces the highest quality effluent for protection of the Ogeechee River Watershed, a critical natural resource for the community of Richmond Hill.

This project was designed, permitted and constructed in accordance with the schedule agreed upon and set forth in the city’s consent order with the Georgia Environmental Protection Division.

“Having a statewide organization recognize this project is third-party confirmation that Richmond Hill is on the right path,” said Mayor Harold Fowler. “This state-of-the-art system will not only meet today’s needs but all our needs in the near future – and ensure our natural resources are being conserved and protected.”

Richmond Hill received $23.5 million in loans to build the state-mandated wastewater treatment facility from the Georgia Environmental Finance Authority (GEFA), which provides communities throughout Georgia with low-interest loans to fund wastewater infrastructure and water pollution-reduction projects. Constructed by Bainbridge, Georgia-based Bates Engineers/Contractors, Inc., the facility became fully operational by April 2016.

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