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June 7--  The City of Lyons is considering its options regarding upgrades to its two water and sewage treatment plants.

The North Plant primarily serves the U.S. Number One Industrial Park and needs an increase in capacity to satisfy environmental regulations and to meet the needs of Chicken of the Sea and future growth in the park. 

The East Plant's primary customers are residential, but it also needs to be updated, according to Lyons Mayor Willis NeSmith, "We've got to renovate the East Plant and, at a minimum, we've got to renovate the North Plant.  We're looking at anywhere from $4 to $6 million just to do that even if we don't increase our capacity at the North Plant.  We're having to make a decision on what we can do because we have to look at the future of the industrial park. If we get any other industry in like Chicken of the Sea which is a big water user then they'll be sending wastewater to us also and we've got to be able to handle that."

The city's engineering firm, Hofsteader and Associates, was at a called meeting of the city council Monday and said the best option would increase capacity at the North Plant to 1.5 million gallons a day and cost nearly $15 million.

Mayor NeSmith says the city can't afford that proposal but may be able to afford increasing capacity up to a million gallons a day at the North Plant and upgrading the East Plant at a total cost of between $8 and $9 million.

Another option would be to pipe some of the wastewater from the Industrial Park to the East Plant to lessen the load on the North Plant, the Mayor says.

The council is planning a work session June 20 to further consider its options and hopes to vote on a plan at its July 18 meeting.

Whatever the final decision, Mayor NeSmith says property owners don't have to worry about a tax increase, "Property taxes have nothing to do with any of this.  We're mainly going to be doing all of this out of our water and sewer revenues.  We're really aren't even going to be using our Special Purpose Local Option Sales Taxes (SPLOST), we'll use that like a rainy day fund and use it only for emergency purposes."

The project timeline calls for the city to get its plans to the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD) by the end of August, get an approved plan back from EPD in the November-December time frame and seek construction bids early in 2018.