What is happening at the Big Creek Water Reclamation Facility?

Fulton County, along with the AW/BC JV and other partners, is expanding and improving the Big Creek WRF to address known issues regarding odor and noise control as well as creating a more efficient process for water treatment.
This investment will drive future growth in the community by increasing treatment capacity; reduce waste load to the Chattahoochee River – even with increased flow; provide a smaller footprint and more buffer for nearby residents and businesses; and control odor and noise, eliminating the historical stigma of the facility.

When will the expansion begin and end?

Detailed design is ongoing and initial early site grading will begin in the fall of 2019, with main plant construction planned to begin in mid 2020. The new facility is anticipated to be completed and brought online in 2024.

How long before another expansion like this would be required?
Based on projections for future growth in population and flow, it is anticipated that the capacity provided by this expansion will not be reached until somewhat beyond 2050. Even at that point, there are other facilities that the County will likely upgrade to provide additional capacity prior to any future expansion at the Big Creek WRF.
I’m concerned about safety, noise, and traffic disruptions, including on Highway 120, during construction. Once construction begins, when will the construction activities take place?
We are committed to confining our work to the hours and days permitted by Fulton County and the City of Roswell. During construction, there may be a temporary disruption of selected roads in the surrounding areas. Everyone involved with the completion of the project will be required to adhere to site-specific safety plans.
Why is completion of this project going to take so long?

Fulton County and the AW/BC JV are committed to quality and we just can’t sacrifice quality for time. This is also a big project that will take a significant amount of time to construct.

Will blasting be required onsite during construction?

Currently no blasting activities are planned or anticipated. However if rock is encountered that will require blasting, due to the proximity of construction to existing structures, any blasting would be done using very small charges, and all applicable regulations and codes will be followed.

Will construction workers have security screening done given their proximity to residential homes?

Yes, construction employees will have employment screening including background checks completed.

Will treated water be reused and distributed to the public?

No permit for public distribution will be obtained for reuse water. Reuse water will have various uses onsite, including site irrigation, screen wash water, and washdown hoses.

What will be done to address the odor coming from the facility?

Advanced odor control measures will be built into the design of the plant. For example, all the processes involved with treatment will be covered and enclosed, and odorous gasses will be treated prior to exhausting to the atmosphere. Odor control technologies used will be the same ones used successfully at the Johns Creek Environmental Campus.

Will the new facility be much noisier than the current one? What about noise during construction?

The new facility will include measures to limit noise, keeping the expanded facility’s operational noise similar to existing levels. An example is the provision of noise reduction enclosures for equipment. Construction activities will be managed to limit noise levels during sensitive times and comply with Fulton County and City of Roswell noise ordinances.

Will I be able to see any of the structures at the facility from my house? How tall will structures be onsite?

Similar to the Johns Creek Environmental Campus, the County will work with adjacent homeowners for input and coordination regarding screening options and particular trees to be used for this purpose. Several structures on the site will be two stories tall. The expansion approach also includes provision of additional greenspace onsite.

Why are there disruptions to the environment?

We share your concern for the environment; however, some disruption is necessary to safely install utilities and treatment facilities. We are working to preserve the natural topography and protect the natural drainage of the site. We anticipate plans will also allow for potential future recreational enhancements, such as walking/biking trails.

Will there be any communication with the public during construction?

Yes, regular updates will be provided to the public during construction via the project website and other avenues.

Will this expansion increase pollution in the Chattahoochee River?

The amount of pollutants discharged from the facility is strictly regulated by the State of Georgia Department of Natural Resources Environmental Protection Division (EPD). The Big Creek WRF must abide by discharge limits set by EPD. The new permit limits for this expansion are more stringent than the previous permit, enough so that a smaller amount of pollutants will be discharged than the previous permit allowed even though the amount of flow discharged is increased. The lower permit limits will be achieved by implementing advanced treatment processes, in particular membrane bioreactor (MBR) technology and enhanced biological nutrient removal, similar to the Johns Creek Environmental Campus.

How will this expansion impact home values in the area and has Fulton County considered purchasing nearby homes?

Completion of this expansion will support continued growth in the community and enhance facility aesthetics. Impacts to home values are anticipated to be neutral to positive but likely minor in comparison to other housing market conditions and drivers. Purchase of nearby homes is not a component of the expansion approach.

I was a resident in the mid-2000s when the expansion was originally planned, will the previous commitments from that original plan be honored?

Given the difference in plant size and treatment processes being proposed now versus the approach in the mid-2000s, the impacts now on the adjacent neighborhoods should be considerably less than what was proposed back then. Therefore, all of the measures planned previously may not be necessary. However, residents will be involved in the next phase of design as the exact layout and look of the facility are further developed.