Buena Vista to get upgrades to sewage water system

Published: Aug. 15, 2023 at 10:31 PM EDT
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BUENA VISTA, Ga. (WTVM) - A big development is in the works in Buena Vista: a multi-million dollar project to improve the city’s wastewater plant.

The current wastewater plant is forty years old. Leaders said the water was not directly affecting residents, but the facility was not up to code to the Peach state’s requirements, which would have cost taxpayers here a pretty penny.

“It was not functioning well enough to meet the health and safety standards with the discharge of ammonia and other toxins,” Congressman Sanford Bishop explained.

Recently, the Georgia Environmental Protection Division was poised to impose fines to the taxpayers of rural Buena Vista unless the water plant was upgraded.

Tuesday, state and city leaders happy to announce that project is now underway thanks to grants.

“Wastewater plants treat the dirty water that comes in, cleans and sterilizes the water and process the water that goes back out so that we can have clean drinking water and sewage water that doesn’t contaminate the community,” Reggie Taylor, Georgia State Director of Rural Development said. “It’s very important, a vital system in the town.”

It’s a $12,225,000 project, but thanks to the Peach State’s Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant Program, a $6,000,000 grant has been awarded, along with the U.S. Department of Agriculture contributing a $2.5 million grant... and a $3.6 million loan to the city.

“The city could not raise the rates high enough to support this upgrade,” Congressman Bishop said. “It was an impossible scenario they faced. In 2016, it lost its largest employer, lost 300 workers and lost it’s largest water customer which was 1/3 of the revenues that supported the water and sewage enterprise fund in the city.”

Buena Vista native and Mayor Kevin Brown says the new plant will be located here on this same property next to the current plant, but will be 1/3 of its size.

“It would cost our taxpayers so much that we really couldn’t have made it happen without the grants to build a new plant and maintain a level of fees our residents can handle... all in an effort to make Buena Vista a better place to live,” Brown said.

The Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant Program is awarded to communities with populations of 10,000 or less, providing long-term, low interest loans.

This project is expected to be completed in winter of 2024.