A recent $265,000 federal grant will help get the city of Ludowici’s pond filtration system on the road to being up to standards.
In recent years, the city’s pond sewage filtration system has struggled to stay in compliance with state and federal guidelines due to population growth in the area.
Mayor James Fuller, who was the previous water superintendent, knows this better than anyone, since he was usually the person doing much of the work on the system.
“We’ve had so many problems. We’ve been using the ponds for about 24 years now, and they just haven’t been able to keep up with the amount of sewage that has been going into them,” Fuller said.
He said that the system is broken down into three ponds: a 15-acre catch pond, a 3.75-acre secondary catch pond and a three-quarter-acre polishing pond where water finally is clean. There also is a 20-acre buffer system around the ponds. The total time for the filtration system to work is 45 days.
According to Fuller, even though the city hasn’t been in compliance with the system for several years, the recent Federal Emergency Management Agency allowed steps to be taken to begin meeting the required guidelines.
“We just completed Phase 1 of getting all of the equipment up to date and in place,” the mayor said. “One of the areas that were worked on is the catch basin, where stainless-steel stems were installed, along with new gate valves and the baffle system.”
Fuller said that a sample now is obtained every six days from the filtered water and is analyzed to ensure that the system is working properly. If there are problems, the report provides information to the city so corrections can be made.
“When we get these reports, we give (the Georgia Environmental Protection Division) a copy and the state a copy, and we keep one for our records,” the mayor said.
He said there still is about $500,000 worth of work to do on the big pond, and he believes the city will have to get an additional grant to complete that work.
“There is no way our city can raise that kind of money. We would have to raise taxes so high that it would be unrealistic,” Fuller said. “What we have to do is get a grant. We have already begun the paperwork hoping to get one, and if we do, we can finish this work.”
According to Fuller, once the additional work is completed, the sewage filtration system will be good for at least another 20 years.