Tyrone nears deal with Fulton County for sewer capacity

Tyrone nears deal with Fulton County for sewer capacity

 

The time may be up for the Peachtree City Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA) to sell sewer service to Tyrone, while the idea of doing the same in Senoia is something WASA will explore.

The topic of selling sewer to Tyrone and Senoia came up at the March 6 WASA board meeting after board member John Dufresne asked that the discussion items be included on the agenda. The bulk of the discussion dealt with providing sewer services to Tyrone.

Pertaining to Tyrone, the board voted to table the discussion with the understanding that Tyrone can contact WASA to negotiate services.

Dufresne noted that General Manager Stephen Hogan had previously stated that there existed a 98 percent chance that Tyrone “would not be going with us.”

“That’s a lost opportunity,” Dufresne said.

Hogan then weighed-in, noting that despite percentages, his belief was that Tyrone was favoring obtaining sewer from Fulton County, adding that there is “no definitive agreement today.”

Tyrone currently buys 250,000 gallons per day from Fairburn, while Fairburn buys sewer capacity from Fulton County.

From Tyrone’s perspective on the issue, Mayor Eric Dial on Thursday said Fairburn recently agreed to buy back its capacity from Tyrone and is in process of determining a buy-back of the 250,000 gallons per day from Tyrone for a negotiated amount.

Tyrone is in process of attempting the purchase of 400,000 gallons per day from Fulton County.

The Fulton County Commission on March 15 is slated to discuss, and potentially approve, that purchase.

The Tyrone Town Council will soon be discussing the issue, Dial said.

Turning to an issue that has percolated under the surface in the minds of some, Dufresne said WASA, being a duly constituted authority by the state, does not need Peachtree City to operate.

“In the past, WASA agreed not to extend past city limits without the city’s okay,” said Dufresne, adding that Tyrone wants to expand it’s services by approaching a provider. WASA currently provides Tyrone with sewer maintenance work. “We only need city approval if we leave the city limits.”

“The city attorney does not agree,” said Vice-Chairman Phil Mahler said in response. “Tyrone already hooked up to Fulton County. We can explore it if anything changes.”

Dufresne’s comments were presumably linked to the City Council putting stipulations on sewer service outside city limits due to having signed off on two WASA bonds in years past. It will be approximately 10 years before those bonds are paid-off.

Dufresne continued, saying that he wants the WASA board to “Take a stand. We either exercise our powers or we do what the city wants.”

“It’s the city’s decision, not ours,” Mahler responded.

The motion, approved unanimously, was to table the discussion until Tyrone comes back to negotiate.

“We already told Tyrone to come back if they have a problem,” Mahler said. “We keep bringing this up.”

Tyrone in early 2016 asked that WASA sell 350,000 gallons per day. Tyrone currently has a 250,000 gallon capacity provided by Fairburn through Fulton County. That agreement is set to expire in 2019.

The Peachtree City Council in mid-2016 adopted a resolution to develop an intergovernmental agreement (IGA) that could result in extending limited sewer service to Tyrone. To date, nothing more has been announced concerning the development of the IGA.

With the Tyrone topic completed, the March 6 discussion among WASA board members turned relatively briefly to sewer services for Senoia.

Dufresne said he believed WASA could “go to Senoia directly. I think we need to take the opportunity to do that. WASA has not approached Senoia.”

Dufresne said he believed Senoia is somewhat shy based on its prior experience in past years when it wanted sewer from WASA but went its own way and developed a sewer system. Senoia today is attempting to get state approval to expand its sewer system.

The discussion ended with the unanimously-adopted motion that Hogan and board attorney Mark Oldenburg contact Senoia and attempt to negotiate an agreement for wastewater treatment services and bring the results back to the WASA board.

If a move to provide services to Senoia, or Tyrone, were to transpire, such action could lead to a potential conflict with the City Council, given the city’s late 1990s promise to keep sewer service inside the city limits. That promise arose as a condition of the controversial purchase of privately owned Georgia Utilities Co. The developer-owned system had used the sewer service as a valve to control use of land inside the city. Generally speaking, sewer lines allow much higher density residential and commercial development than septic systems.