Forsyth Co. unlikely to buy Cauley Creek

Opts to build own Shakerag facility in South Forsyth



FORSYTH COUNTY, Ga. — The owner of a water treatment facility in Johns Creek came back with an offer the county can and will likely refuse.

This despite the facility’s owner saying he would save the county millions.

Cauley Creek Chief Executive Officer Ron Green, who ran the water reuse facility for Fulton County until Fulton commissioners abruptly terminated the contract last year, said he would lower the price to have the plant up and running for $20 million.

Green says his system, which is a 5 million gallon per day plant, will save at least $19 million compared to building from scratch because it’s ready to go.

The Cauley Creek water reclamation facility, located off Bell Road in Johns Creek, served as a cheaper source of water irrigation for golf courses, ball fields and water treatment customers in the area for years until it was shut down.

Forsyth County has plans to build a 2.5 million gallon per day Shakerag Water Reclamation Facility. The construction of the $31 million project located 2,000 feet north of Johns Creek on 315 acres along Kemp Road, off McGinnis Ferry Road, is on the agenda for approval at the Nov. 7 Forsyth County Commission meeting.

Tim Perkins, Forsyth County Water and Sewer Department director, said he did initially see the purchase of Cauley Creek as a money saving option, but after close inspection, he recommended moving forward with Shakerag.

“Basically a good analogy for us is you’re looking at purchasing a new vehicle or a used car and these things wear out,” Perkins said. “This facility has got some age to it, there’s some evidence of that.”

Perkins said engineers with CH2M Hill and Environmental Systems Group did a detailed comparison of the existing Cauley Creek facility with the yet to be built Shakerag facility.

CH2M Hill, which has a longstanding relationship with the county, is also overseeing design and construction of the Shakerag facility for about $2 million.

So why did the county pay engineers who would benefit financially from a new facility?

“We charged them for a fair evaluation,” Perkins said. “The thought process might be that they could be biased… but they saw work at both facilities.”

Perkins said his main objections after the evaluation was not only the wear and tear and age of the Cauley Creek facility, which was built in 2001, but having a working relationship with Johns Creek and Fulton County leaders, who don’t seem thrilled about allowing Forsyth County’s wastewater in their community.

Members of the Johns Creek Council said they were ready to fight any Forsyth County pipes down their roads, Perkins said.

The Fowler wastewater plant was modeled after Cauley Creek, but Perkins said there have been problems with solids and grit, which can interfere with the treatment process.

Still, Green and his team feel their deal was torpedoed.

“We don’t think the facts were looked at objectively,” Green said.

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