After years of delays, a major project to extend Fort Valley sewage services has finally gotten started.
Work began a couple of weeks ago, Peach County Commission Chairman Melvin Walker said.
The first of two phases is expected to take about six months. The two combined will cost about $3 million and will allow 389 homes to connect to the Fort Valley Utility Commissions sewer system.
Weve been working on this for about 15 years, he said. We are still not complete.
Long range, the project calls for two more phases, and those havent been funded yet.
The project adds homes in the southwest area of the county beyond Fort Valley State University. Officials said it is much needed because of topography of the land in the area prevents septic tanks from working properly. Many septic tanks back up.
Walker lives in the area and says its a common problem.
Some residents have done work on their septic tanks in recent years and if those are working properly, he said they will not have to hook up to the system. However, everyone else will have to hook up, he said, at a cost of $1,500 to $3,500, depending on how far the home is from the main line.
A state grant, however, will pay for the hookup of those in phase one because it is a low-income area. The first phase includes 221 homes.
Walker said the delays have involved a wide variety of reasons. Some officials wanted property owners getting the service to be annexed into Fort Valley, but then it was decided that wasnt necessary.
There was also a controversy about whether residents would be required to hook up to the system. Some officials didnt want it to be required, but others thought the project wouldnt be economically viable if everyone didnt hook up.
Walker said the problem is so great that he believes at least 80 percent of the residents along the new line will hook up.
The first phase is primarily funded with $2.5 million from the 2000 local option sales tax initiative.
The second phase will be funded with $2 million from a new sales tax set to begin in 2015.
Although work is already under way on the first phase, a groundbreaking ceremony is set for July 7 at Annie A. Rumph Fire Station No. 3 at 195 Willow Lake Road.
To contact writer Wayne Crenshaw, call 256-9725.