By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Covington council OKs water, sewer territory swap with county
City would add new Eastside High School property if both parties agree

COVINGTON, Ga. — A proposal to swap a handful of water and sewer territories with the Newton County Water and Sewer Authority would be “favorable” for the city, if approved by the county.

During its regular meeting Monday, May 17, the Covington City Council voted unanimously to approve the territory proposal presented by Planning & Development Director Tres Thomas. He said the proposed deal would help optimize both the city and county’s water and sewer systems.

“We wanted to make the system more efficient,” Thomas said. “We wanted to eliminate the pass-throughs, which means maybe we have the water and somebody else has the sewer, or vice versa. We like to have the water and sewer together. So, we wanted to make sure that we could try to do that in all areas possible.”

The proposed swap included the following areas:

• Old Atlanta Highway — with the city picking up the area spanning the interstate from Old Atlanta Highway/Cook Road to Dinah Pace Road and the land south to the Yellow River.

• Cinelease Studios – Three Ring — with the city picking up Flint Hill Elementary; Cinelease Studios – Three Ring; Merryvale Assisted Living; and a neighborhood around Stewart Drive, just off Georgia Hwy. 142.

• Hazelbrand — with the city picking up territory east of SKC and west of Alcovy Rd.

• Deerfield — with the city relinquishing the water tank, water mains and other water infrastructure in Melody Farms Subdivision but, in return, picking up the Morgan property and the new Eastside High School. “[There is] already a lot of [city] water [supplied] in the area but the sewer is in ‘no-man’s land,’” Thomas said. Covington would need confirmation from the county to allow the school to be served with city sewer.

• Georgia Highway 36 — with the city picking up the area from By Pass Road to East End Road.

If the proposal were to be approved, Thomas told the council that the city would lose 28 customers and assets valued at $868,400 from the Deerfield area to the NCWSA. But, Covington would gain a total of 431 customers across the remaining areas and assets with a cumulative value of $927,306. The city picked up 256 customers in the Hwy 36 swap, which was approved prior to the Monday meeting.  The city will pick up an additional 203 customers with this swap.

Thomas said the NCWSA officially relinquished the territory along Hwy. 36 (listed above) in April 2019, and the authority and city had been working on the other proposed swaps for the last two years.

Six master meters within the current system would be removed and two relocated, Thomas said, but the NCWSA would split the $506,000 cost.

Thomas recommended the city approve the proposal with one stipulation.

If approved, the new Eastside High School located in the Deerfield area would become a city customer. Thomas said within the next two years, the city would need to extend gravity sewer to the school property, which is an estimated $1 million project. In order to do so, Thomas said the county would have to allow city sewer service within the Deerfield area. 

Covington won a bid in October to provide electrical services to the school.

Thomas said if Covington were not able to get the county to agree to the stipulation, it may not be as “favorable” of a deal for the city as it could be.

If approved, the official swap date is tentatively scheduled for early August. It was unclear when the county would hear the proposal and put it to a vote.