Brooklet is looking to install a small sewer system for its downtown businesses
Municipal authorities in Brooklet, which does not have a city-wide sewerage system, are considering installing a small system, with pumps and a pipeline leading to large septic tanks and a single field of water. purification, to serve downtown businesses.
The only sewage system owned by the town of Brooklet connects the houses on Goodman Street and a neighboring street to a few large common septic tanks. Currently serving about 17 homes, this system was installed over 30 years ago because the streets are in a low-lying area where private septic systems like the ones behind most of Brooklet’s homes and businesses wouldn’t always work.
Lately, some businesses along Parker Avenue in the heart of downtown Brooklet are having a similar problem. This is especially true of the Mexican restaurant El Maguey. Husband and wife team Genaro and Celeste Carmona opened the restaurant two years ago, and business has been good enough that they are now completing the expansion of a second storefront next door.
But the septic tank behind the original restaurant is filling up and the water is not draining quickly enough. So, restaurateurs hire a septic tank service company to pump it – frequently.
âWe had to pump it two, three times a week, and it costs around $ 400, at least, for once,â said Genaro Carmona.
Lately, business has been a bit slower, but the septic truck is still needed once a week, he said. Sometimes the restaurant had to close its toilets.
Some neighboring businesses have also experienced septic system issues, at a slower rate.
Brooklet’s mayor and council were made aware of this and asked City Engineer Wesley Parker to come up with possible solutions. He presented his idea for the downtown sewer system at a city council meeting on June 17.
He explained that a septic tank traps only solids and that the wastewater then flows through pipes to seep into the earth, underground in a leach field. But look behind these shops along the avenue and you won’t see much open ground.
âThey just don’t have a lot of land to get rid of the water,â Parker said. âSo some of them don’t work. When that doesn’t work, companies call the septic tank pumping company just to get relief.
But the city already has land, on Railroad Street outside of downtown, that could be used for a leach field, he reported. City Councilor Nicky Gwinnett described it as about 12 acres on the right side jutting out of the street beyond where the community center is on the left. Only about two acres would be useful for this purpose, Parker said.
âWe asked a soil scientist to look into whether this land will take water after passing through a septic tank, and the answer is, luckily, yes,â he said.
His plan is to connect downtown commercial locations, including those currently vacant, through typical sewer pipes that would be installed at that end, to an electric âgrinder pumpâ. This pump would push the sewage through another pipe buried along Railroad Street to two large holding tanks for solids settling.
From there, the wastewater would be routed to a pumping tank which, when filled to a certain point, would send the water through several pipes to spill out into the leach field.
âYou basically have enough room there now to do downtown, the existing businesses, the empty ones as well, and maybe a little bit of expansion,â Parker told the Mayor and Brooklet Council. âYou could take care of the city center with this system. “
But that would have to be approved by the state’s environmental protection division, he said, because the Bulloch County Health Department only approves “on-site” septic systems. In other words, to be eligible for Department of Health approval, the septic tank must be on the same property as the building being serviced.
Rough estimate of costs
City Councilor Bradley Anderson, who reports on the finances of the Town of Brooklet, asked the engineer for a cost estimate.
Parker estimated $ 75,000 for the crusher pump and just a two-inch pipe to get to the field, then about $ 50,000 for the pipe network to the field, $ 15,000 for the pumps there and 40 $ 000 for the tanks. Costs such as permits, soil survey, engineering, and bid processing could bring the total to around $ 225,000, he said.
But he then noted that pipelines would also need to be built behind the companies to the main pump.
Anderson therefore suggested $ 275,000 as an estimate of the total cost, and Parker agreed that might be fair. That was a month ago, and they said a more precise estimate would be worked out later. Anderson also wanted to know the expected life of the system, in order to cushion the cost of financing. Parker observed that the Goodman Street system had been in operation for over 30 years and only needed repairs recently.
The Georgia Environmental Finance Authority has been mentioned as a source of low-interest loans for the city’s sewer projects. Of course, homeowners or tenant businesses would have to pay a fee to operate the system and pay off any loans.
Bigger system later?
Gwinnett and Brooklet Mayor Joe Grooms III suggested the downtown system could be an entry point for Brooklet to eventually create a city-wide sewer system, especially given the recent interest of private developers in the construction of residential subdivisions. Grooms and Gwinnett recalled that Brooklet had refused more than 20 years an opportunity to develop a system that would be linked to that of Statesboro.
âWe’re never going to have a sewer system in this city if we don’t start somewhere,â Gwinnett said.
He suggested that the downtown system be designed so that it can be connected to a larger system later and the leach field be abandoned at that time. Parker noted that this could be activated by installing “full-size” pipes behind the companies.
Gwinnett and Grooms initially said the most urgent need was to find a way to keep El Maguey operating in downtown Brooklet. Anderson worded it differently, saying he didn’t think it was the board’s responsibility to intervene on behalf of any particular company.
âIt’s not our role. â¦, “He said.” I think it’s our role to look at it in terms of longevity and livelihoods downtown. So if we are to invest in something to help facilitate that so that it doesn’t dry up and we can continue to have a thriving downtown area, I think that’s our business.
Before leaving the June 17 meeting, Brooklet officials agreed to contact downtown property owners on both sides of Parker Avenue to get their response at a future meeting. Called last week, Gwinnett said the city had sent letters urging landowners, about five or six in all, to meet with council members and Parker at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday before the regular council meeting at 7 p.m. .
After sending out the letters last week, City Clerk Lori Phillips said Tuesday she had not heard from most of the owners and would be making calls on Wednesday to see if they attended.