By Tia Lynn Lecorchick staff writer

The Madison City Council voted to move forward with loan applications for funding through Georgia Environmental Finance Authority (GEFA) to renovate and update the Southside Wastewater Treatment Plant so the facility can handle the entire city’s water treatments, transforming the Northside Wastewater Treatment Plant into a pumping station to reroute all wastewater to the southside plant.

The proposed plan, which will not be officially voted on until April, is estimated to cost about $1.63 million and would require new piping and water pumps to consolidate all the city’s sewage and water waste to the Southside plant.

The Northside Wastewater Treatment Plant, built in 1970, is older, smaller, and not as modernized as the Southside Wastewater Treatment Plant, said Wayne Haynie, regional practice manager for Burns & McDonnell, an engineering company.

The Northside plant is located at 1330 Hayes Street, and handles the northwest portion of Madison, which accounts for nearly 10 percent of the city’s total wastewater.

“This project is a good operational decision for the city,” said Haynie. If the city chooses to close the Northside Wastewater Treatment Plant, new pipelines and water pumps must be installed. Haynie told the council that the financial debt incurred from taking on this project will eventually pay for itself. “Once the consolidation is complete, the city will be saving money through operational costs,” explained Haynie. According to Haynie, it costs the city between $100,000 to $150,000 to operate and maintain the Northside Plant.

“Once everything is done at the Southside plant, the operational costs will be significantly less,” said Haynie. “The money you have to put out to invest in this will be worth it in the long run,” said Haynie. “The state is willing to invest in this project.

It’s good cheap money,” said David Nunn, Madison city manager. The council voted to proceed with the loan process with GEFA and will make a final decision on whether or not to adopt the proposed water plant consolidation plan sometime in April.