Governor Brian Kemp announced the awarding of $619,050 to Tattnall County on February 22, 2022, which will ensure communities in high-need areas have reliable and safe drinking water and wastewater systems.
This amount is included in the $422 million in preliminary awards, awarded by Kemp and members of the Water and Sewer Infrastructure Committee and state leaders, according to a press release from the Governor’s office.
These investments will do many things, including the following actions:
•Improve drinking water treatment;
•Extend drinking water service to high-need areas;
•Improve drinking water infrastructure, including interconnections and additional sources to ensure water system resiliency; high-tech meters and asset management systems to improve drinking water system responsiveness to issues such as leaks or line breaks; upsizing or replacing pipes to reduce leaks and water loss; and lead pipe inventory development and replacement;
•Improve wastewater treatment, resulting in cleaner lakes and rivers;
•Improve biosolids management, resulting in less waste in our landfills;
•Improve sewer systems, resulting in fewer spills that can pose threats to public health and environmental quality; and
•Secure Georgia’s water resources for future generations.
Rural Tattnall County, population 22,842, is seeking financial assistance totaling $619,050. The project site is located on J Roland Hodges Road where the existing dirt road with three lines of 48” pipe floods is currently completely washed out with a large section of the road washed away as well, according to the press release.
J Roland Hodges Road connects two major county paved roads (Love’s Chapel Road and Harmony Church Road) and gets constantly washed away in these flooding events and is vital to the movement of emergency vehicles, with an elderly couple living near the washout.
Tattnall County is a rural farming community, and, with the current strain already on the community due to COVID-19, this site with a longer detour only brings additional hardships on our residents, school bus traffic, small farming operations, and increased threats on emergency response times, the press release reads.
The road is a critical route for farming operations (with several near this site), which is one of the main supporting economic drivers and is a thoroughfare for emergency response within our community. With the continual climate change having a constant effect on frequency of flooding events, it is imperative to have this location addressed to ensure we do not have additional negative impacts to our community outside of the economic hardships that COVID-19 has already placed on the community.
Tattnall has experienced more frequent flooding events in the area, like Hurricanes Matthew, Irma, and Michael. This washed-out site poses threats for emergency vehicles responding to COVID-19 patients, fires, and other incidents that require law enforcement efforts to respond to residents in the community.
The construction of a new drainage structure at this site will alleviate the constant roadway flooding issues and make it safer for all travelers, including our emergency response personnel that we are so heavily relying on during this current pandemic. With each flood event, roadway embankment is washed away, straining our undersized maintenance workforce, and material is deposited all along our existing ecosystem, which impacts the environment for not only humans but wildlife as well.
This issue increases mosquito breeding grounds and has the potential of additional health hazards to the residents. The new drainage structure would not only enhance human life as we know it but will promote an eco-friendly stormwater environment for aquatic animals by allowing fish and other wildlife easier passage.
Tattnall County is ready to immediately proceed with advertisement, letting, and construction of the new concrete box culvert and roadway repairs as soon as sufficient project funding is secured.
“Because we remained focused on protecting lives and livelihoods throughout the pandemic, Georgia is now in a position to make strategic, transformational investments in our state’s water and sewer infrastructure,” Kemp said. “I want to thank the committee members for dedicating their time and expertise to help us make these awards as well as the grants’ team at the Office of Planning and Budget. I am proud to know that we have worked hard to prioritize projects that address pressing public health and environmental issues, support economic development, and enhance our ability to be good stewards of our water resources for generations to come.”
An engineer will propose alternative solutions to address concerns with the most cost-effective solution by calculating existing drainage area and designing construction alternatives to permanently address the existing issue, and bids will be utilized by the most effective price received. The contract will be awarded, and the engineer will oversee construction to ensure construction methods are performed as directed in contract and according to Georgia Department of Transportation specifications and construction details.
The engineer will ensure all materials and construction methods comply and the project remains on schedule and within budget. The completion of this project will enhance safety of travel for emergency personnel, small farming operations, and residents. The new drainage structure will alleviate roadway flooding as well as enhance the safety and wellbeing of residents living in the area with timely emergency response efforts, less property flooding, and decreased mosquito breeding habitat.
The ecosystem will greatly benefit as well by eliminating constant erosion of materials from site into this watershed, which will improve aquatic life. The existing maintenance forces will have relief from major repairs being made at this site after the continued rainfall events due to climate change.