Constructed wetlands completed in Morrow, Georgia

Crews have completed the Inman Road Constructed Wetlands and begun a similar project at the Clayton County Water Authority's Huie Land Management Site, both in Georgia.

Morrow, Ga., Nov. 10, 2003 -- When the public thinks of water reclamation facilities, many picture large plants with an immense staff. Few think of serene wetlands where birds, fish, and other wildlife live in extraordinary habitats.

However, this scene is one many are getting used to in Clayton County, with the completion of the Inman Road Constructed Wetlands and the beginning of a similar project at the Clayton County Water Authority's (CCWA) Huie Land Management Site.

The Inman Road project, completed recently following multiple phases of rehab work, involved the construction of wetlands, pipelines, and pump stations, which were operational last fall. Indigenous plants were then planted during the spring and early summer. Upgrades have also been made at the Shoal Creek plant, preceding wetlands construction. The improvements, along with the 55-acre constructed wetlands, constitute one of the largest projects in the CCWA's 10-year master plan - entitled the Water Resource Initiative 2000.

The wastewater treated at the Inman Road Constructed Wetlands comes from the Shoal Creek Water Reclamation Facility following initial treatment. From the wetlands, the treated wastewater is pumped to the Shoal Creek Reservoir, where it is "reclaimed" as part of the raw water reserves for future drinking water production.

The wetlands will allow the CCWA to increase its wastewater treatment capacity while dropping the costs incurred in the process. The cost to treat wastewater using the wetlands method is $4.73 a gallon, compared to nearly $10 a gallon using the more mechanical methods.

"These wetlands allow the Authority the ability to increase our treatment capabilities and create a pristine environment, while saving our customers money," observed Wade Brannan, general manager of the CCWA.

The next step in the Water Resource Initiative 2000 is the launch of a similar project at the CCWA's Huie Land Management Site. The Huie site will accept the discharge from the recently built Casey Water Reclamation Facility (WRF). The capital improvement program will convert existing portions of the Land Application Site (LAS) into constructed wetlands, adding to the water reclamation capacity without the need for additional land.

The Huie project will be split into three or four phases to complete the wetland cell construction, according to CCWA Project Manager Mike Thomas. "We're breaking the project up so that the Authority can continue to treat existing wastewater while allowing for the construction to proceed," explained Thomas.

The treated wastewater from the Casey facility will pass through the constructed wetlands on the Huie site and discharge to the Shamrock and Blaylock Reservoirs. Raw water from those reservoirs will then be pumped to the CCWA's Freeman Road Water Production Complex or will flow downstream to for eventual drinking water production at the Hooper Water Production Facility.

Phase one of the Huie Constructed Wetlands project includes the installation of a splitter box that will divide the flow from the Casey WRF between the land application ponds and the wetlands. A pipeline will then be constructed to carry water from the splitter box to the nearly 55 acres of constructed wetlands. When finished, the new wetlands will provide 3.6 million gallons per day of treatment capacity.

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