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Green zone well may be getting a green light
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Hinesville is getting closer to putting a well just across the city limits and the county line.

The state EPD is prepared to recommend approval of the draft permit to the agency director following a 30-day public comment period.

“This is the best Christmas gift the city could get,” City Manager Kenneth Howard said. “This is a significant accomplishment.

“This is something the community as a whole can be proud of,” Howard added. “We are in need of increasing our capacity to ensure that the economic growth we are currently experiencing continues.”

The well could be operational in fall 2024, engineer Paul Simonton said.

The city and Long County’s commissioners entered into an agreement last year that would lead to a new well being drilled in Long County, with some of the water being pumped specifically for Hinesville. Long County is in what is known as a green zone by the state EPD, meaning its groundwater withdrawals are not capped. Hinesville and Liberty County are in a yellow zone, and further withdrawals are restricted.

“It was a tremendous undertaking in terms of what we had to do to accomplish this,” Howard said.

Howard said the city was fortunate to have Simonton involved, since Simonton worked on a green zone well for Riceboro in McIntosh County and had experience putting together that permit.

“This is considered a regional approach in providing services such as groundwater and in that, we leaned on Paul a lot to guide us through all the detail and intricacies of what we needed to put in place,” Howard said. “It wasn’t easy. We’ve had some peaks and valleys and ups and downs.”

The EPD will post the draft permit on its website for 30 days. Depending on the comments received, Howard said, the EPD then will issue the permit.

“We feel this is something that is a long time coming for the City of Hinesville,” he said. ““We have made that first step and now the next step is to consider a design-build approach for the well with the concurrence of Long County and that will help expedite the process.”

The permit, if approved, will provide a daily average of 1.2 million gallons to the city and a monthly average of 990,000 gallons per day to the city. Long County will get about 340,000 gallons per day for its use.

“We have the package pretty much ready to go to bid,” Simonton said of the well.

Once the permit is approved, the city and Long County’s plans will be submitted to the EPD for approval, which will take about another 45 days, Simonton pointed out.

With the newly-permitted and constructed well in place, Hinesville’s daily water capacity will increase to almost 5 million gallons per day. The city already has a 12-inch line looped around the city, so a 16-inch or 18inch line from the well will feed into that existing system.

“That will serve all the Hinesville customers,” Simonton said. “It will serve the entire system.”

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