Atlanta DWM Unveils New Capital Improvement Program

As Atlanta continues to attract more residents and businesses, maintaining water and sewer infrastructure is critical for the city’s future growth.

Last week, the City of Atlanta Department of Watershed Management (DWM) released its Capital Improvement Program (CIP) plan, designed to forecast system needs over a five-year period. The proposed fiscal year 2015 through fiscal year 2019 plan totals nearly $1.06 billion and identifies requirements for sustaining, restoring and modernizing the facilities and infrastructure that support the water system, wastewater system, combined sewer control facilities and general maintenance and repair priorities in the Atlanta service area.

“As leaders in the water industry, the Department strives to deliver the highest level of service to our customers and community using sustainable and efficient techniques,” said Commissioner Jo Ann Macrina. “This Capital Improvement Program allows Watershed Management officials to properly identify and prioritize departmental needs that will ensure clean, safe drinking water and healthy communities for decades to come.”

Watershed Management’s near-term capital program is highlighted by implementation of the Water Supply Program – the most substantial water system investment since development of the Chattahoochee Water Treatment Plant in 1962. Under the Water Supply Program, Watershed Management will replace aging infrastructure, including water transmission lines more than 120 years old, and construct a new system to store source water delivered from the Chattahoochee River. The new five-mile system will connect the river intake facility and the Hemphill and Chattahoochee Water Treatment Plants with a new water storage facility located at the former Bellwood Quarry. Once the $280 million project is complete, Atlanta’s water storage capacity will increase by up to 2.4 billion gallons.

The CIP also details plans to improve the City’s wastewater system including facility upgrades and sewer capacity relief projects that will increase wastewater collection capacity in accordance with SSO Consent Decree requirements. Additional projects under Watershed Protection, water quality control facilities and general facilities management are also outlined in the CIP. To access the CIP, click here.

Blasting Begins for Major Atlanta Water Supply Project

In April, Atlanta will take a big step forward in its plan to ensure the city’s water sustainability for the next 100 years. Beginning April 6, the Department of Watershed Management will begin blasting operations in preparation for the Water Supply Program, a project designed to extend Atlanta’s water reserve from the current three-day supply to more than 30 days. By comparison, Washington, D.C. only has a 36-hour backup supply of water.

“The Water Supply Program represents a triple bottom line for Atlanta through employment opportunities, environmental protection and economic development,” says Watershed Management Commissioner Jo Ann Macrina. “Mayor Kasim Reed recognized the need for reliable delivery of drinking water and redundant water storage in the event of a crisis. Through Mayor Reed’s vision, this program will address Atlanta’s goal of achieving a sustainable water infrastructure for future generations and flexibility in system operations.”

Blasting operations are necessary prior to construction to create 400-foot shafts and will take place Monday through Saturday. Blasting will continue for approximately four months. Once the blasting phase is complete, construction of a five-mile, 10-ft diameter tunnel will begin linking the Chattahoochee River and the Hemphill and Chattahoochee Water Treatment Plants. The new five-mile conveyance will connect to a quarry site that will be transformed into a new water storage facility.

The estimated cost of the project is approximately $280,000,000 and is scheduled for completion in 2018.

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