By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Brooklet expects to connect new sewer system to Statesboro’s treatment plant
Agreement slated for both city councils’ approval next week
City Statesboro

The city of Brooklet, which is planning to construct its own sewer system, will be able to connect it to Statesboro’s wastewater treatment plant under an agreement expected to go to both cities’ councils for votes and both mayors’ signatures next week.

Brooklet’s businesses, churches, elementary school and most of its homes still rely on septic tanks for sewage disposal. The city’s proposal for what was then projected to be a $4 million sewer system won a $2,031,000 grant from the state of Georgia in February 2022. With the inflation in construction costs that has occurred, Brooklet officials now hope to keep the total price around $6 million and issue bonds to finance the remainder, notes Matthew Morris of MMC Consulting Service.

Morris, who has been working with Brooklet’s city engineer, Wesley Parker, since February of this year on planning for the sewer system, described the agreement to connect to Statesboro’s wastewater treatment system as a key step.

“We’ve hashed out what I think are all of the particulars in that agreement, but it will be beneficial for Brooklet,” Morris said. “I mean, that will finally give Brooklet the ability to have a functioning sewer system, and give them a place to grow from.”

The agreement is on the agenda for a motion and vote during Statesboro City Council’s 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 18, meeting, the council’s only scheduled meeting this month. It will also be on the agenda for Brooklet City Council’s 7 p.m. Thursday, July 20, meeting, said Brooklet City Clerk Lori Phillips.

If both councils approve, the next step will be for Brooklet’s planners to complete some easement agreements with the Bulloch County government for the pipeline right of way, Morris said.

“Once that is completed, Brooklet will go to a bond market to secure their bond funds and then finish up the engineering and then go to bid for construction,” he said.

The state grant came with a requirement for substantial work to be underway by the end of 2024. Morris said the plan is to send out bids for a contractor by the end of 2023.

The expected route of the pipeline connecting Brooklet’s system to Statesboro’s would mostly follow the county right of way of S&S Railroad Bed Trail Road west to a Statesboro sewer main “at the nearest manhole” in the area of the Five Points intersection.  Brooklet will install both a forced-main pumping station and a metering station somewhere on the route.


Agreement terms

The proposed intergovernmental agreement, which has a maximum lifespan of 50 years, states that Brooklet’s sewage system is expected to send Statesboro’s plant less than 100,000 gallons per day of wastewater at first, not to exceed 300,000 gpd within five years.

Brooklet would pay Statesboro a one-time $160,000 “aid to construction fee” for the first 100,000 gallons-per-day capacity in two installments: the first $80,000 within 90 days of Brooklet giving a contractor a notice to proceed with building its sewer system, and the second $80,000 on or before the day Brooklet’s sewage begins flowing to Statesboro’s plant.

Statesboro would then charge Brooklet 1.5 times Statesboro’s in-city residential sewer rate for 1,000 gpd of sewer flow, stated as $3.19 as of July 1, 2023.

Beginning in the future when Brooklet’s sewer flow exceeds 100,000 gallons per day, Brooklet would then pay Statesboro a new one-time aid to construction fee of $640,000 for an additional 200,000 gpd capacity.

Morris expects Brooklet to exceed the 100,000 gpd level in three to five years.

Brooklet officials are thinking of the upper, 300,000-gallon limit as the level where it will become more cost-efficient for their city to build its own wastewater treatment plant, he said.


Load on Boro’s plant?

Brooklet’s current population, 2,034 residents as estimated by the U.S.  Census Bureau, is about 6% as large as Statesboro’s, estimated at 34,353. At the expected beginning flow of less than 100,000 gpd, Brooklet’s added load on Statesboro’s wastewater treatment plant would be less than 1% of its permitted 10 million gpd capacity. At the 300,000 level, Brooklet would claim 3% of that capacity.

“It’s not that large of an amount of sewer. It’s not going to have that big of an impact on our plant, and it’s going to take them several years to ramp up their system to full capacity,” said Steve Hotchkiss, Statesboro’s city public utilities director.

For reasons having more to do with Statesboro’s own population growth and the area’s boom in new industries, Statesboro city officials are looking at adding a smaller “satellite” wastewater treatment plant, perhaps in the next five to six years, with a capacity of 3 million or 4 million gpd.

“We have plenty of capacity as it stands right now at the treatment plant, but you have to plan really far in advance for these type things,” Hotchkiss said. “So we’re just trying to get ideas out there and get plans on the books so we have some options in the future.”

Sign up for the Herald's free e-newsletter