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Reservoir levels back to normal
Water restrictions still in place
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A little over a year after the county’s reservoirs reached unheard of low-levels, water-levels have returned to nearly full levels.

Newton County Water Resources Director Karl Kelley told the Board of Commissioners at their Tuesday meeting that Lake Varner is only 1.1 feet below full pool levels, while the county’s other reservoir, City Pond, is at full levels.

Lake Varner is currently 96 percent full and 3.3 feet higher than it was at this same time last year. With a continuation of the current rainfall pattern, the reservoir should be at full pool levels by Feb. 1, according to the report given by Kelley.

While the county’s water resources remain strong, statewide watering restrictions remain in affect. Newton County is still at a Level IV Drought Restriction, which allows no outdoor watering for more than 25 minutes a day on an odd-even day street address schedule.

The BOC had the option of requesting more lenient water restrictions from the state last summer, but so far has chosen not to do so.

Kelley also provided the board with an update on the expansion of the Cornish Creek Plant, which will increase processing capacity from 15 million gallons a day to 25 million gallons a day.

Choate Construction began work on the expansion in July of last year. Though there have been some delays due to weather, subsurface conditions and utility relocation, the county’s on-site representative, Infratec Consultants Inc., feels the project will be completed on-schedule this November.

Thanks to some value engineering, the project is currently under-budget by $10,943.


In other BOC news:

The board approved a $196,900 task order for the survey and design of improvements to Livingston Lane Road. Design work with transportation consultant Hatch Mott MacDonald will include drainage improvements, road realignment (including at the intersection of Oak Hill Road), environmental permitting and future paving of the road.

According to a memo from County Engineer Kevin Walter, there is currently no county funding for the construction of improvements to Livingston Lane Road.

The board received and approved a second change order for the District 4 Community Center. The original amount of the design/build contract with Tommy Gibson Builders was for $345,000.

That amount was revised upwards once by $12,520 and revised upwards a second time Tuesday by another $3,800. The additional funding will go towards finalizing plans for value engineering and the drafting of a landscape plan.

So far the county has spent $511,411 on building the community center, which will be located in the Nelson Heights Neighborhood. Construction on the center is expected to begin in February with a tentative completion date set for July.