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Jackson wastewater plant to get update

One of the City of Jackson's wastewater treatment plants will need to be upgraded to meet new state standards, Mayor Wayne Phillips told the City Council last week.

Under a new wastewater discharge permit, Phillips said the city will have to remove some chlorine from treated wastewater, before discharging it back into the environment. The chlorine is added as part of the treatment process.

Phillips told council members at a meeting March 6 that the Environmental Protection Division will require the chlorine removal, and that while one of the city's plants is equipped to do so, its Northside plant is not.

He said a sulfur dioxide chamber will be needed at the plant, to remove the chlorine. Phillips said the Environmental Protection Division will require the city to submit a report on the proposed design of the addition within six months, and require the chamber to be operational within two years.

He described the chamber as likely being a small outbuilding at the plant site. He said he would request proposals on the design of the chamber from engineers that have worked in the past with the Butts County water authority, and that the estimated cost might be $20,000 to $30,000 to construct.

"It's going to cost some, but it's not a lot of money," he said. "Hopefully it's not going to have a huge impact" on treatment costs.

In other action March 6, the City Council formally voted to write off its books more than $37,000 in delinquent bills owed by utility customers from the year 2010, and turn them over to a collection agency.

Phillips said the year's total billing was more than $6 million, so the uncollected fees amounted to less than 1 percent of bills.

City council members also :

• Approved a $5,00 expenditure to overhaul the city's web site. City Clerk Lara Brewer said the address, www.cityofjacksonga.com, would not change, but the look and functionality would be enhanced. Residents she said, for example, will be able to go online to report a street light outage. Brewer said the money to update the site will come from the city's collection of hotel-motel taxes.

• Approved a bid of $4,380 for architectural work associated with renovations to what will become the new Jackson City Hall. City officials plan to add a front counter and drive-through window to the old McIntosh State Bank Mortgage Center at 134 South Oak Street. Phillips said the city closed on the nearly $400,000 sale of the building and its contents March 5.

• Voted to donate $500 toward a project of the group Action Ministries. Phillips said the group plans this summer to provide meals to area children who receive free and reduced-price lunches at school, but might not otherwise get lunch during the summer break. He said the money would go toward the salary of the program's director, and that the ministry is asking other organizations for support as well.