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Water tank to hold emergency reserve
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The county is about halfway done with a massive water storage tank on Kirkland Road near Salem Road, a move that officials said will maintain stability in the water system in the heavily-populated western portion of the county.

Water and Sewer officials said work started on the $2.5 million, four-million-gallon tank in September and it is expected to be finished and operational by May.

“It gives us one whole day’s supply in the most populated area of Newton County, so it is a very beneficial project,” said Mike Hopkins, of Newton County Water and Sewerage Authority. “That’s where most of our customers are now.”

The tank is a large concrete structure a total of 40 feet high and half buried in the ground. Hopkins said the ground tank design was chosen because it is cheaper than elevated storage. “You get more bang for your buck,” he said.

Having the extra storage capability will improve fire protection and could help save energy by reducing the need for pump stations to run constantly during peak demand times, he said.

Newton County Water and Sewerage Authority received a $2.5 million loan from the Georgia Environmental Finance Authority, a state program that provides loans for water, sewer and solid waste infrastructure, among other things, according to the agency’s website.

Hopkins said GEFA offered a 30-percent forgiveness on the loan, meaning the Water and Sewerage Authority will only have to pay back $1.7 million. The loan will be repaid with money from the water and sewerage fund, which is financed by various water and sewer fees, over 20 years.